Wheat germ is part of the whole grain – its most nutritive part!Wheat germ it’s removed from processed wheat products (in order to keep the wheat in storage much longer) e.g. white flour. It is a major nutritional component of whole grain wheat. As a part of wheat kernel is responsible for providing nutrients for spawning of new plant. This is the reason why it has so many wonderful nutrients.
Why is so healthy?
Because it is meant to feed the new plant, wheat germ is packed with good nutrients. This is plenty of protein and fiber.
High nutritional value
According to U.S. Department of Agriculture the wheat germ has excellent nutritional value as a food supplement. It’s an excellent source of vegetable proteins, along with fiber and healthy fats. Wheat germ is a good source of magnesium, zinc, thiamin, niacin, folate, potassium, and phosphorus.
Wheat germ oil is high in vitamin E, an essential nutrient with antioxidant properties. This vitamin serves as a powerful antioxidant that protects the wheat germ oil from becoming rancid too quickly. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can protect cell membranes, brain cells, and cholesterol molecules from free radical damage. Free radical damage greatly contributes to plaque build-up in the arteries, called atherosclerosis. Vitamin E can help stop that process. Vitamin E is also important for good liver detoxification, immune function, and blood glucose control in both healthy and diabetic individuals.
Wheat germ contains lots of fiber, which is necessary for good blood sugar balance, cholesterol control, intestinal health and detoxification.
Reduces the cholesterol
Wheat germ has phytosterols, which are actually steroid compounds similar to cholesterol. They can lower unhealthy cholesterol and promote a healthy heart. Study showed eating 30 grams, or about a quarter of a cup, of raw wheat germ a day for 14 weeks lowered total cholesterol by 7.2%.
Cancer and Arthritis
There is a form of wheat germ called fermented wheat germ (FWG). This form has had impressive research results and has been used in cancer and arthritis treatment. First invented by Hungarian chemist in early 1990s, this wheat germ differs from ordinary wheat germ because it is fermented with baker’s yeast to concentrate certain naturally active compounds.
Laboratory studies show that FWG may have anticancer properties. Results from some clinical trials suggest FWG improves quality of life, but cancer patients should consult their physicians before taking FWG.
Another study published in 2007 journal Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, showed that fermented version of wheat germ significant anti-inflammatory efficacy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The study showed that FWG had additive effect with diclofenac, and inhibited COX-1 and -2 (enzymes responsible for formation of prostanoids, supstances that promote inflamation and pain).
One preliminary study in the 2006 journal Clinical Experiments in Rheumatology of 15 patients even showed that in these severe cases, after 6 and 12 months, morning stiffness was reduced when patients used the fermented wheat germ, and half the patients were able to significantly reduce their use of steroids.
Wheat germ is packed with nutrients and vitamins in such high levels that it can have significant effects on various anti-aging effects like skin quality and hair loss. As a dietary supplement, wheat germ is a natural way to get these benefits, but some people also choose to go for a more cosmetic approach, using its extract directly, or mixing it with other cosmetic materials.
Vitamin E is packed into it as well, and studies have shown a wide range of benefits to people who fill their daily requirements of that vitamin. When eaten regularly, the proteins and vitamins within wheat germ can positively affect people with conditions like psoriasis, sunburn, eczema, wrinkles, dull complexion, and receding hairlines.
Are There Any Side Effects?
People who are gluten intolerant (celiac disease) or have gluten allergies should avoid wheat germ supplements, as it contains glutens. People who are on a low-carb diet may also want to avoid wheat germ, as one cup of wheat germ contains nearly 60 grams of carbohydrates. Wheat germ oil is rich in triglycerides, a type of fat. People with heart disease, as well as people at a high risk of heart disease, should monitor their intake, as high triglycerides levels are linked with adverse health effects.
Wheat germ extract can cause mild side effects in some patients. That includes diarrhea, nausea, gas, and dizziness.
You should talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of adding forms of wheat germ into your diet.
- Brandolini A, Hidalgo A.,Wheat germ: not only a by-product, Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2012 Mar;63 Suppl 1:71-4.
- Telekes A, Hegedus M, Chae CH, Vékey K., Avemar (wheat germ extract) in cancer prevention and treatment, Nutr Cancer. 2009;61(6):891-9.
- Telekes A, Resetar A, Balint G, Blazso G, Falkay G, Lapis K, Raso E, Szende B, Ehrenfeld M, Shoenfeld Y, Hidvegi M, Fermented wheat germ extract (avemar) inhibits adjuvant arthritis, Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2007 Sep;1110:348-61
- Judson PL, Al Sawah E, Marchion DC, Xiong Y, Bicaku E, Bou Zgheib N, Chon HS, Stickles XB, Hakam A, Wenham RM, Apte SM, Gonzalez-Bosquet J,Chen DT, Lancaster JM, Characterizing the efficacy of fermented wheat germ extract against ovarian cancer and defining the genomic basis of its activity, Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2012 Jul;22(6):960-7.
- Wheat germ extract, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Cente
- Cara L, Armand M, Borel P, Senft M, Portugal H, Pauli AM, Lafont H, Lairon D, Long-term wheat germ intake beneficially affects plasma lipids and lipoproteins in hypercholesterolemic human subjects, J Nutr. 1992 Feb;122(2):317-26.
- Ostlund RE Jr1, Racette SB, Stenson WF, Inhibition of cholesterol absorption by phytosterol-replete wheat germ compared with phytosterol-depleted wheat germ, Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Jun;77(6):1385-9.
- National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, The National Agricultural Library.