Monday, April 04, 2005

Wheatgrass? Why-grass?

Last week, a couple of fellow workers were discussing wheatgrass juice in the lunch-room.

They mentioned that although expensive at $5 for a small shot-glass (est. 30ml) of the stuff and despite it tasting horrible it was worth it because of it's health benefits. Of course, they could not specifically mention exactly what wheatgrass does that is good for you, just that it is healthy.

This prompted me to start searching for information on the health benefits of wheatgrass. Unfortunately, pubmed comes up blank, as does quackwatch (apart from being mentioned as an ineffective anti-cancer treatment).

The search for reliable data that shows wheatgrass to have positive health benefits has come up blank. The closest I could get was a Dutch study on rats showing that a diet that had Chlorophyll (found in wheat grass) was better than a diet which was almost exclusively red meat.

Doctors, dietitians, schools and various other organisations have been putting the message forward to eat a balanced diet that contains fresh fruit and vegetables. While wheatgrass is unlikely to do any harm, for the same $5, you could buy a kilo and a half of broccoli or a couple of bunches of spinach. Eating these would provide much more chlorophyll (as well as vitamin B) and give the added advantage of providing more fibre than in the juice.

I often wonder where these stories come from about the health benefits of certain items. Regardless of the source, at $5 for around 30ml, I'm sure there are growers and health food shops laughing all the way to the bank.

I'll continue to spend my money of broccoli, rather than wheatgrass juice. From a parent's point of view, why buy something expensive that the kids won't eat, when they have been eating the cheaper, tastier version for years?

"There is only one truth. How we interpret that truth is called belief."
"The presence of belief, does not indicate the existence of truth."

18 Comments:

At Saturday, May 14, 2005 2:21:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kevin,

FYI, I recently finished what I beleive to be the first actual un-biased scientific research on Wheatgrass juice. Although it is currently in the process of being submitted for peer-review, and will be presented at the annual California Dental Association Scientific Session in two days, you may be interested in my findings.

I performed an in vitro and a clinical trial to determine the antibacterial effects of wheatgrass juice rinses in the mouth, specifically what effect the juice has on periodontal pathogens (those that cause gingivitis and periodontitis). Our in vitro study indicated that wheatgrass juice has no antibacterial properties when used against S. mitis, S. aureus, S. mutans, or E. coli. This is in direct contradiction to the claims of wheatgrass juice proponents.

My clinical study showed that patients with gingivitis, who choose to "treat" their gum disease with wheatgrass juice rinses will cause their periodontal health to degenerate. In other words wheatgrass juice will cause more disease, even more so than our best negative control.

Bottom line: Wheatgrass juice has no antibacterial properties, and cannot fight topical infections. I can't claim that it's systemic use does harm, but it certainly has no topical benefits.

**Again, I must emphasize that this has not been peer reviewed as of today. However, my statistics indicate a p value of .005. So, my results are statistically significant.

Hopefully this will shed some light on the myths of wheatgrass juice.

Brian
(drbriannovy@gmail.com)

 
At Thursday, September 04, 2008 6:55:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kevin,

Personally, wheatgrass has done wonders for my health. I've suffered with bronchiectisis/asthma since I was 5 years old and now in my fifties. Taking my nebulizer 4 times a day sometimes 6 times aday, and Iwas on 10mg predisolone sometimes was on 45mg if badly infected. Since taking wheatgrass powder over the months I take my nebulizer once a day and prednisolone now down to 5mg a day. My arthritis pain is reduced immensely diabetis levels have dropped considerably. As you know Steroids cause diabetes. I was always getting infections. Once I'd finished a course of antibiotics, 2 or 3 weeks later I'd get another infection.

Also, you only have to read what it has done for Ann Wigmore and many more people like me.

 
At Thursday, June 03, 2010 4:41:00 pm, Anonymous zalveen said...

You should go here to the Philippines. They are aggressively marketing wheatgrass. We have a lot of Quasi supplements being sold and the problem is our patients tend to buy these supplements rather than their prescribed medicines

 
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At Saturday, August 28, 2010 1:13:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The author Kevin claims that there's nothing on PubMed but it's NOT true.

Wheatgrass juice was successfully used to treat ulcerative colitis:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11989836

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The use of wheat grass (Triticum aestivum) juice for treatment of various gastrointestinal and other conditions had been suggested by its proponents for more than 30 years, but was never clinically assessed in a controlled trial. A preliminary unpublished pilot study suggested efficacy of wheat grass juice in the treatment of ulcerative colitis (UC).

METHODS: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. One gastroenterology unit in a tertiary hospital and three study coordinating centers in three major cities in Israel. Twenty-three patients diagnosed clinically and sigmoidoscopically with active distal UC were randomly allocated to receive either 100 cc of wheat grass juice, or a matching placebo, daily for 1 month. Efficacy of treatment was assessed by a 4-fold disease activity index that included rectal bleeding and number of bowel movements as determined from patient diary records, a sigmoidoscopic evaluation, and global assessment by a physician.

RESULTS: Twenty-one patients completed the study, and full information was available on 19 of them. Treatment with wheat grass juice was associated with significant reductions in the overall disease activity index (P=0.031) and in the severity of rectal bleeding (P = 0.025). No serious side effects were found. Fresh extract of wheat grass demonstrated a prominent tracing in cyclic voltammetry methodology, presumably corresponding to four groups of compounds that exhibit anti-oxidative properties.

CONCLUSION: Wheat grass juice appeared effective and safe as a single or adjuvant treatment of active distal UC.

 
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