(1) Effect of wheat grass juice in supportive care of terminally ill cancer patients—A tertiary cancer centre experience from India.
Dey S., Sarkar R., Ghosh P, et al. 2006 J. Clin. Onc. 24:18;2006:8634
Background: Researchers have previously shown that when animals with abnormally low levels of red blood cells and low hemoglobin (anemia) are given a solution containing chlorophyll and related compounds, the animals more rapidly recover from their anemia. Anemia is a common occurrence in patients undergoing chemotherapy to treat cancer, though it may also occur simply as a consequence of long-standing cancer. Anemia in this context is a source of significant suffering for patients and may require blood transfusions in severe cases.
Clinical Trial: Initially stimulated by this great variety of health benefits of wheatgrass juice, a team of researchers from the Palliative Care Unit of the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Cancer Research Institute in India studied the effectiveness of wheatgrass in 400 terminally ill solid-organ cancer patients (age range, 22 - 87 years) examined over a period of 3 years. The study focused on changes in the haemoglobin level, serum protein and performance status, in particular noting the capacity of wheatgrass juice to improve quality of life.
Fresh juice was prepared from the leaves and roots of 5-day-old wheatgrass, and 30 ml doses were administered daily for 6 months.The sites of the treated cancers were: lung (25% of patients), breast (20%), oesophagus (11%), colon (9%), ovary (8%), liver (6%), stomach (6%), and other (15%).
Conclusion: The results in 348 patients, after exclusion of 50 patients requiring transfusion support, were significant improvements in haemoglobin, total protein and albumin levels, and a performance status enhanced from 50% to 70% on the Karnovsky Scale (this runs from 100 to 0, where 100 is "perfect" health and 0 is death.) The authors concluded that wheatgrass juice is an excellent alternative to blood transfusion.
(2) Wheat grass juice may improve hematological toxicity related to chemotherapy in breast cancer patients: a pilot study.
Bar-Sela G, Tsalic M, Fried G, Goldberg H. Nutr Cancer. 2007;58(1):43-48.
Background: Chemotherapy has greatly improved our ability to treat cancer, but the treatment comes with a physical cost. One of the most troubling and dangerous side effects of chemotherapy is hematological toxicity. Chemotherapy is designed to kill human cells. Ideally it would kill just cancer cells, but the chemotherapeutic drugs are not always that selective and may destroy healthy, important cells. One of the most commonly affected cells are those of the blood. When chemotherapy destroys red and white blood cells and platelets, it causes anemia, immune system deficits, and blood clotting disorders, respectively.
Clinical Study: Cancer researchers in Israel studied the effect that wheatgrass juice has on patients undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. They followed 60 patients receiving cytotoxic (cell-killing) chemotherapy; approximately half the patients received wheatgrass juice and the other half simply received routine care. Significantly fewer patients in the wheatgrass juice group had serious events of blood toxicity than the standard care group. The wheatgrass juice group had fewer instances of neutropenic fever, leucopenia with infection, and prolonged neutropenia (low white blood cells). Hemoglobin levels were negatively affected by chemotherapy in both groups, but to a much lower degree in the wheatgrass juice group. Patients taking wheatgrass needed fewer drugs to support blood cell number and function. The one reported side effect of wheatgrass juice was that a majority of patients had difficulty consuming the juice because of its strong odor and taste. This led to increased nausea.
Conclusion: Wheatgrass juice, when taken along with chemotherapy, helped maintain healthier levels of blood cells and reduced the need for additional supportive medications. The use of wheatgrass juice may be limited because of the strong flavor of the substance in its raw state.
(3) The role of iron chelation activity of wheat grass juice in blood transfusion requirement of intermediate thalassaemia.
Mukhopadhyay. S., Mukhopadhyay. A., Gupta. P., Kar. M., Ghosh. A. 2007 Am. Soc. Hematol. Ann.
Background: The authors noted there was no satisfactory explanation for reduced blood transfusion requirements in thalassemia major patients treated with fresh wheatgrass juice. (Marwaha et al) Thalassemias are diseases of abnormal hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying protein of the blood. There is a range of severities in the disease from relatively mild to fatal. In some instances frequent blood transfusions are necessary to provide patients with enough functional hemoglobin. Unfortunately since transfused blood carries iron, the patient accumulates excessive levels of iron in the body. Too much iron is toxic to the body, particularly the liver and nervous system.
Clinical Trial: 30mls of fresh wheatgrass juice extracted from 6 week old wheatgrass plants was given daily to 200 thalassemia intermedia patients over 6 months. They included E-beta thalassemia (160 patients), E-thalassemia, (30 patients) and 10 patients with Sickle thalassemia. Significant iron chelating activity comparable with a standard pharmaceutical chelator, desferrioxamine, was observed. Mean hemoglobin levels rose from 6.2gm% to 7.8gm% (26% increase). Serum ferritin levels decreased significantly and the 24 patients requiring incremental blood transfusion enjoyed an increased interval between transfusions. The authors concluded that wheatgrass juice is an effective alternative to blood transfusion in thalassemia intermedia patients and its use should be encouraged.
Conclusion: The use of orally consumed wheatgrass juice improved hemoglobin values in patients with intermediate thalassemia. It also possibly reduced the need for blood transfusions. Wheatgrass juice dose-dependently chelates iron, which could be helpful in patients who require frequent transfusions.
(4) The role of iron chelation activity of wheat grass juice in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome.
Mukhopadhyay. S., Basak. J., Kar. M., Mandal. S., Mukhopadhyay. A. 2009. J. Clin. Oncology 2009:7012
Background: Myelodysplastic syndrome describes any number of conditions in which the bone marrow does not produce enough blood cells. In cases where red blood cell number drops too low, patients require blood transfusion to add additional red blood cells. The blood that is transfused carries iron and, when numerous transfusions are given, the patient may have harmful and excessive levels of iron in the body. Medications that bind to and remove metals, such as iron, are called chelators. Sometimes chelators are prescribed to counter the toxic effects of too much iron. Lastly, ferritin is a protein that stores iron—the level of ferritin correlates with the level of iron in the body.
Clinical Trial: Physicians collected a cohort of 20 patients with severe myelodysplastic syndrome who required repeated blood transfusions. They administered 30 mL of fresh wheatgrass juice made from 5-7 day old leaves daily for 6 months. The wheatgrass juice had two intriguing properties. The first was that it had the ability to chelate or bind to iron. Also, mean serum ferritin levels, (an indicator of the amount of iron in the blood), fell from 2,250 to 950 and the mean interval between transfusion increased. This effect was comparable to a medically prescribed iron chelator, desferrioxamine, suggesting that the juice was able to clear iron from the body.
Conclusion: Wheatgrass juice dose-dependently chelates iron on a par with prescription chelators. The juice also apparently reduced the iron burden of patients who receive repeated blood transfusions. The authors concluded that "wheatgrass juice is an effective iron chelator, and its use in reducing serum ferritin should be encouraged in myelodysplastic syndrome and other diseases where repeated blood transfusion is required."
(5) Evidence for an unidentified growth factor(s) from alfalfa and other plant sources.
Lakhanpal,R., Davis, J., Typpo, J., Briggs, G. 1966. J, Nutr. 89(3):341-346
Factor(s) important for growth in guinea pigs were found in alfalfa, broccoli and grass clippings. They may or may not be related to the 'grass juice factor', but are organic in nature since they are not found in ash.
(6) Wheat grass juice reduces transfusion requirements in patients with thalassemia major: a pilot study.
Marwaha, R., Bansal, D., Kaur, S., Trehan A.2004. Indian Ped. 41:716-720
Patients with thalassemia consuming wheat grass juice on a daily basis reduced on average their requirements for blood transfusion. Families raised and prepared the wheat grass at home and a comparison was made with the requirements of the patient in the preceding year. In nearly all patients the mean interval between visits increased and the blood transfused decreased during the wheat grass period. The mechanism involved is unknown.
(7) Growth stimulating properties of grass juice.
Kohler G, Elvehjem C, Hart E. Science. 1936. 445
Growth of rats increases on a diet of milk produced on summer pasture compared with milk produced from winter feeding conditions. i.e. fodder. When grass juice was added to the winter milk diet, growth doubled from 2 to 4 grams a day. (See Fig. 1) It was evident there are important water-soluble substances in the juice that directly stimulate growth when added to winter milk.
(8) Wheat grass juice in the treatment of active distal ulcerative colitis: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial.
Scand J Gastroenterol. 2002 Apr;37(4):444-9.
Ben-Arye E, Goldin E, Wengrower D, Stamper A, Kohn R, Berry E.
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).
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.
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.
Wheat grass juice appeared effective and safe as a single or adjuvant treatment of active distal UC.
(9) Wheat Sprout Extract Induces Changes On 20S Proteasomes Functionality
Amici M, Bonfili L, Spina M, Cecarini V, Calzuola I, Marsili V, Angeletti M, Fioretti E, Tacconi R, Gianfranceschi GL, Eleuteri AM.
University of Camerino, Department of Biology M.C.A., 62032 Camerino (MC), Italy.
Wheat sprouts contain a very high level of organic phosphates and a powerful cocktail of different molecules such as enzymes, reducing glycosides and polyphenols. The antioxidant properties of wheat sprouts have been widely documented and it has been shown that they are able to protect DNA against free-radicals mediated oxidative damage. Furthermore, we have recently reported on the effects of several polyphenols on 20S proteasomes, underlying the dual role of epigallocatechin-3-gallate as an antioxidant and a proteasome effector in cancer cells. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of wheat sprout extracts on 20S proteasome functionality. Wheat sprout extracts have been analysed and characterized for their polyphenolic content using the Folin-Ciocalteau reagent and RP-HPLC technique. Comparing our data with a polyphenol standard mixture we identified five different polyphenols: gallic acid, epigallocatechin-3-gallate, epigallocatechin, epicatechin and catechin. The treatment of isolated 20S proteasomes with the extract induced a gradual inhibition of all the tested components, ChT-L, T-L, PGPH and BrAAP, in both the complexes. At low extract concentration a slight activation of the enzyme was evident only for the BrAAP component of the constitutive enzyme and the ChT-L activity of the immunoproteasome. Beta-casein degradation rate decreased, particularly with the immunoproteasome. Human Colon adenocarcinoma (Caco) cells, stimulated with 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate, showed activation of the 20S proteasome activities at short incubation times and an increase in intracellular oxidative proteins. Cells treatment with wheat sprout extract led to proteasome inhibition in unstimulated cells and attenuated the effects mediated by TPA. Finally, exposure to the extract affected the expression levels of pro-apoptotic proteins.
(10) Wheat Grass Juice May Improve Hematological Toxicity Related to Chemotherapy in Breast Cancer Patients: A Pilot Study
Gil Bar-Selaa, Medy Tsalica, Getta Frieda & Hadassah Goldberga
Published online: 05 Dec 2007
Myelotoxicity induced by chemotherapy may become life-threatening. Neutropenia may be prevented by granulocyte colony-stimulating factors (GCSF), and epoetin may prevent anemia, but both cause substantial side effects and increased costs. According to non-established data, wheat grass juice (WGJ) may prevent myelotoxicity when applied with chemotherapy. In this prospective matched control study, 60 patients with breast carcinoma on chemotherapy were enrolled and assigned to an intervention or control arm. Those in the intervention arm (A) were given 60 cc of WGJ orally daily during the first three cycles of chemotherapy, while those in the control arm (B) received only regular supportive therapy. Premature termination of treatment, dose reduction, and starting GCSF or epoetin were considered as “censoring events.” Response rate to chemotherapy was calculated in patients with evaluable disease. Analysis of the results showed that five censoring events occurred in Arm A and 15 in Arm B (P = 0.01). Of the 15 events in Arm B, 11 were related to hematological events. No reduction in response rate was observed in patients who could be assessed for response. Side effects related to WGJ were minimal, including worsening of nausea in six patients, causing cessation of WGJ intake. In conclusion, it was found that WGJ taken during FAC chemotherapy may reduce myelotoxicity, dose reductions, and need for GCSF support, without diminishing efficacy of chemotherapy. These preliminary results need confirmation in a phase III study.
(11) Wheat Grass Juice in the Treatment of Active Distal Ulcerative Colitis: A Randomized Double-blind Placebo-controlled Trial
2002, Vol. 37, No. 4 , Pages 444-449 (doi:10.1080/003655202317316088)
E. Ben-Arye, E. Goldin, D. Wengrower, A. Stamper, R. Kohn and E. Berry
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.