The benefits of wheat germ extract: what science says about their potential

Wheat is a staple food that has been grown around the world for thousands of years. You can find wheat flour in a variety of products, from bread, pasta, cereals, to muffins. However, recently, with the rise of gluten-related diseases and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, it seems that wheat may be getting a bad rap.
Wheat germ has a growing reputation as a nutritional powerhouse and revolutionary health-boosting superhero. While research is still ongoing, early evidence suggests it contains properties that support immune function, aid heart health, and even improve mental health.
Although the word “germs” usually refers to something we want to avoid, this germ is a good thing.
Wheat germ is one of the three edible parts of the wheat kernel, the other two being the endosperm and the bran. The germ is like the tiny germ of wheat in the center of the grain. It plays a role in reproduction and production of new wheat.
Although the germ is rich in nutrients, unfortunately, most processed wheat varieties have it removed. In refined wheat products, such as those containing white flour, the malt and hulls have been removed, so the product lasts longer. Luckily, you can find this microbe in whole grain wheat.
Wheat germ comes in many forms, such as pressed butter, raw and roasted malt, and there is a lot you can do with it.
Because wheat germ is high in nutrients and is a natural source of essential amino acids and fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, phytosterols and tocopherols, adding small amounts of wheat germ to cereals, grains and baked goods will increase their nutritional value.
According to recent research, wheat germ is not only rich in nutrients, but may also provide a number of health benefits. Here’s what we know so far.
A 2019 study found that wheat germ has powerful antioxidant properties. The researchers tested wheat germ on A549 cells, which are commonly used as a model of lung cancer. They found that wheat germ reduced cell viability in a concentration-dependent manner.
In other words, the higher the concentration of wheat germ, the more effective it is at destroying cancer cells.
Keep in mind that this is a cell study, not a human study, but it is an encouraging direction for further research.
Menopause usually occurs in women between the ages of 45 and 55 as their menstrual cycles change and eventually end. This is accompanied by symptoms such as hot flashes, bladder loss, trouble sleeping and mood changes.
A small 2021 study of 96 women found that wheat germ may be beneficial for people experiencing menopausal symptoms.
Researchers studied the effects of crackers containing wheat germ on menopausal symptoms. Rusk appears to improve several menopause factors, including waist circumference, hormone levels, and symptom scores on self-report questionnaires.
However, crackers contain many ingredients, so we cannot say whether these results are due solely to wheat germ.
Wheat germ can improve your mental health. A 2021 study looked at 75 people with type 2 diabetes and looked at the effects of wheat germ on mental health. Participants took 20 grams of wheat germ or a placebo for 12 weeks.
The researchers asked everyone to fill out a depression and anxiety questionnaire at the beginning and end of the study. They found that eating wheat germ significantly reduced depression and stress compared to placebo.
Future research will help clarify which aspects of wheat germ are responsible for these effects and how they work in the general population, not just people with type 2 diabetes.
White blood cells play an important role in the immune system, fighting harmful germs and disease. Some of the superstar white blood cells are B lymphocytes (B cells), T lymphocytes (T cells), and monocytes.
A 2021 study in mice found that wheat germ had a positive effect on these white blood cells. Researchers have observed that wheat germ increases levels of activated T cells and monocytes, helping the immune system function more effectively.
Wheat germ also promotes some anti-inflammatory processes, another function of the immune system.
If that’s not impressive enough, wheat germ appears to help the immune system produce more baby B cells and prepare them to fight off invading pathogens.
If you have diabetes, your LDL cholesterol (aka “bad” cholesterol) may be elevated. Not only does this lower your HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels, but it can also lead to narrowed and clogged arteries, a common cause of heart disease.
In 2019, a study involving 80 participants examined the effects of wheat germ on metabolic control and oxidative stress in people with type 2 diabetes.
The researchers found that people who consumed wheat germ had significantly lower concentrations of total cholesterol. Additionally, people who took wheat germ experienced an increase in total antioxidant capacity.
Diabetes also causes insulin resistance, which occurs with weight gain. Guess what? A 2017 study in mice found that supplementing with wheat germ reduced insulin resistance.
The mice also showed improvements in mitochondrial metabolic function, which is promising for people with heart disease. Mitochondria are critical to fat metabolism, and when these cellular components do not function properly, fat deposition and oxidative stress increase. Both factors can lead to heart problems.
So we look at some of the promising benefits of raw wheat germ. What about ready-made wheat germ? Here is some preliminary information about the benefits of cooked or extracted wheat germ.
So, fermented foods seem to be good for you—kombucha, anyone? This may also apply to wheat germ.
A 2017 study examined the effects of fermentation on wheat germ and found that the fermentation process increases the amount of free bioactive compounds called phenols and decreases the amount of bound phenolics.
Free phenols can be extracted with some solvents such as water, whereas bound phenols cannot be removed. So, increasing the free phenols means you can absorb more of them, increasing their benefits.
The main benefit of roasted wheat germ is that it has a sweet and nutty flavor that is not found in raw wheat germ. But roasting wheat germ slightly changes its nutritional value.
15 grams of raw wheat germ contains 1 gram of total fat, while the same amount of roasted wheat germ contains 1.5 grams of total fat. In addition, the potassium content of raw wheat germ is 141 mg, which decreases to 130 mg after roasting.
Finally, and surprisingly, after roasting the wheat germ, the sugar content dropped from 6.67 grams to 0 grams.
Avemar is a fermented wheat germ extract that is similar to raw wheat germ and may provide significant benefits to cancer patients.
A 2018 cell study examined Avemar’s antiangiogenic effects on cancer cells. Antiangiogenic drugs or compounds prevent tumors from making blood cells, causing them to starve.
Research data suggests that Avemar may have antiangiogenic effects on certain cancer cells, including gastric, lung, prostate and cervical cancers.
Since uncontrolled angiogenesis can also lead to other diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, inflammatory diseases and rheumatoid arthritis, Avemar may help treat these conditions. But more research is needed to explore this.
Another study looked at how Avemax could help boost the effectiveness of natural killer (NK) cells against osteosarcoma, a cancer that starts in the bones. NK cells can kill all types of cancer cells, but those sneaky bastards can sometimes escape.
A 2019 cell study found that osteosarcoma cells treated with Avemar were more susceptible to the effects of NK cells.
Avemar also prevents the migration of cancer cells and affects their ability to penetrate. In addition, Avemar appears to cause massive death of lymphoid tumor cells without damaging surrounding healthy cells, an important quality for successful cancer treatment.
Our bodies react differently to food or other substances. Most people can use wheat germ without hesitation, but there are some exceptions that may cause some adverse reactions.
Because wheat germ contains gluten, it is best to avoid eating wheat germ if you have a gluten-related condition or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Even if this doesn’t apply to you, some people may experience mild side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting after eating wheat germ.
You should also know that wheat germ has a relatively short shelf life. Why? Well, it contains a high concentration of unsaturated oils as well as active enzymes. This means that its nutritional value deteriorates quickly, limiting its shelf life.
Wheat germ may provide enormous health benefits, including antioxidant and antiangiogenic properties that can fight cancer cells. It can also improve your mental health, reduce insulin resistance, support your immune system, and ease menopausal symptoms.
It is still unknown whether wheat germ is safe for most pregnant and breastfeeding women. Organ and tissue transplant recipients should consult their doctor before considering adding wheat germ to their diet. Additionally, since wheat germ contains gluten, it should be avoided by anyone suffering from gluten-related digestive problems.
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Post time: Sep-17-2023