Many people swear by benefits of adding wheatgrass juice to your daily breakfast regimen. These benefits include an increased vitamin and mineral intake as well as numerous medical benefits. But, to be quite honest about it, it’s important to mention there has been little in the way of scientific evidence to either prove or disprove these claims, and many critics of wheatgrass say the benefits are overblown or non-existent.
The alleged benefits of wheatgrass range from increasing your intake of vitamins and minerals to helping fight off various diseases and cancers. Wheatgrass is primarily used to provide a concentrated source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, calcium, magnesium, and various amino acids. In addition, wheatgrass contains vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic acid, iron, zinc, copper, selenium, and dietary fiber. Wheatgrass also contains chemicals that might have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, which are helpful for a number of medical conditions.
Wheatgrass is believed to increase the body’s production of hemoglobin, the chemical in red blood cells that carries oxygen. This can help improve blood sugar disorders such as diabetes, can help prevent tooth decay, improve wound healing, and prevent bacterial infections. Wheatgrass is also used for removing heavy metals and drug deposits, as well as cancer-causing agents and toxins, from the liver and blood.
Wheatgrass is also used in alternative medicine treatments for cancer and arthritis. Because of its high concentration of chlorophyll, the chemical in plants that makes them green and allows them to make energy from sunlight, it is believed that wheatgrass juice can help fight cancer and arthritis. An Israeli study of 60 patients with breast cancer provided the conclusion that wheatgrass juice may help reduce myelotoxicity and chemotherapy dosages, but those results have not yet been confirmed by further testing.
Wheatgrass is also used to treat urinary tract disorders, including bladder infections and infections of the urethra and prostate. It’s also used to treat kidney stones, and acts as a mild diuretic with lots of fluids to increase urine flow. In addition, wheatgrass has been noted to help many people suffering from ulcerative colitis. According to New York University’s Langone Medical Center, a small clinical trial of 24 patients with ulcerative colitis concluded that patients who took a wheatgrass supplement showed improvement in their symptoms compared to those who took a placebo.
Wheatgrass is also very high in enzymes, which do the actual work of healing the body and helping the body lose weight. Our body contains natural enzymes, but our predilection for eating cooked foods prevents us from obtaining the outside enzyme help that many of our ancestors had, because cooking kills 100% of the enzymes in food. This is why wheatgrass, with its high concentration of enzymes, has been seen to help wound healing and weight loss.
You can also use wheatgrass juice to sooth cuts, burns, scrapes, rashes, poison ivy, athlete’s foot, insect bites, boils, sores, open ulcers, tumors, and many other skin problems. Simply use the juice in a poultice and replace it every two to four hours.
Perhaps most people’s biggest reason for drinking wheatgrass juice is the vitamin and mineral intake. You can get almost your entire day’s supply of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from one shot of wheatgrass juice. Wheatgrass juice also absorbs quickly into the blood stream, allowing for a quick burst of energy to get you going in the morning. This is especially true if you drink your shot of wheatgrass juice on an empty stomach.
There have been claims that consuming two ounces of wheatgrass will provide the body with the same nutritional composition as several servings of vegetables, but no clinical trials support this claim. There has also been little, if any, scientific research that supports claims that wheatgrass has a positive effect on tumor shrinkage or the treatment and prevention of heart disease and diabetes. The scientific community has also been silent on whether or not wheatgrass can play a role in eliminating heavy metals from body tissues.
To further compound the controversy, many of the claims regarding wheatgrass’s benefit to the human body point to chlorophyll as being the primary agent to provide these benefits. However, an Australian-based doctor, Dr. Chris Reynolds, told Mother Nature Network that he has had tremendous success over the past 18 years in his practice by having his patients take a wheat grass sprout extract that is totally devoid of chlorophyll. Other scientists and doctors have claimed that chlorophyll has absolutely no medical or nutritional value to the human body. Many nutritionists argue, too, that the nutritional content of wheat grass is no different from other vegetables.
The claims that the enzymes in wheatgrass juice help the body may also be called into question. The National Council Against Health Fraud says that enzymes are produced by living organisms “exclusively for their own use in promoting chemical reactions. Orally ingested enzymes are digested in the stomach and have no enzymatic activity in the eater.” NCAHF also disputes the value of chlorophyll to the human body, saying that the substance is not absorbed into the blood stream.
There simply is not enough evidence to support claims that wheatgrass is or is not beneficial to the human body. Our bodies are very complex systems, and what works for one person may not ever work for anybody else. If you want to improve your nutrition and well-being, nutritionists say you should increase your vegetable intake and decrease your red meat consumption. While wheatgrass juice might seem like an easy shortcut to increasing vegetable consumption, you should pay close attention to whether you actually feel healthier. And, you should go ahead and add more vegetables to your diet in addition to the wheatgrass juice. And, until more research is done, wheatgrass juice should not be considered a “cure-all” for everything that might ail you in the future.