13 Debunked Benefits Of Wheatgrass For Vibrant Health

This Evidence Based article was written by

Intrigued by wheatgrass? Wondering if you should jump on the green shot bandwagon? This “superfood” is rumoured to have many health benefits but not all are supported by hard facts. Read on to find out what science has to say about the properties of wheatgrass and decide for yourself if you should, perhaps, give it a try.

Benefits of wheatgrass

First things first; what is it actually? Wheatgrass is the young grass shoots of the Triticum Aestivum plant, more commonly known by the name of wheat plant. Just like barley, oat and rye grasses, wheatgrass is part of the cereal grass family and grows in temperate regions all around Europe and the United States. For those of you living in colder climates, fear not, as wheatgrass can also be grown indoors!

Where does wheatgrass come from?

Its origins can be tracked back to more than 5000 years ago. Back then, Egyptians allegedly considered the young wheat shoots sacred and readily consumed them for the positive effects they had on their health and vitality. Wheatgrass has also been used for thousands of years in India, as part of Ayurvedic medicine.

It’s popularity hit the Western world back in the 1930s, thanks to Charles F. Schnabel, an agricultural chemist who used the fresh cut grass to nurse dying chickens back to health. What’s particularly amazing is that the sick hens consuming it not only recovered, but also started laying an egg almost everyday instead of every three days – basically increasing their egg production three fold! Pretty impressive, right?

grow wheatgrass

About two decades later, wheatgrass was brought back into the spotlight by Ann Wigmore, an ordinary woman who consumed it, in combination with other various weeds, to heal herself of colon cancer. She went on to found the Hippocrates Health Institute, where her use of wheatgrass as a key food both popularized its use and spurred continued interest in the young grass.

What can wheatgrass do?

Wheatgrass is packed full of vitamins, minerals and amino acids in addition to containing plant nutrients (phytonutrients) thought to have antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s interesting to note that many of the phytonutrients contained in cereal grasses have yet to be identified and the mechanisms through which they provide their health benefits are still largely unknown.

So, are there any real benefits to wheatgrass or is it all gimmick? Fans of wheatgrass sure swear by it, citing its many health perks! So let’s entertain the discussion and take a deeper look at the evidence.


1. Claim: A Shot Of Wheatgrass Juice Has As Much Nutritional Value As 2.5lbs Of Fresh Veggies.

Wheatgrass certainly is a source of many nutrients, including vitamins E and B12, iron, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. It also contains beta-carotene, a nutrient typically found in orange pigmented fruits and vegetables such as mangoes, cantaloupe, pumpkin, carrots and yams and selenium, a trace element important for the functioning of the thyroid gland. Vitamin E, beta-carotene and selenium also happen to be powerful antioxidants. This means they can protect the body against the effect of harmful molecules known as free radicals. So, there’s no doubt about it, wheatgrass has an interesting nutritional value.

That being said, one ounce of wheatgrass juice has, on average, just about as many vitamins and minerals as three ounces of fresh vegetables, no more, no less.

So can a shot of wheatgrass compensate a lack of vegetables in the diet? Not fully. A daily consumption of wheatgrass juice doesn’t mean you can skimp on fruits and veggies the rest of the day, but it can definitely contribute towards your daily nutrient intake.

VERDICT: Not true. One ounce of wheatgrass juice will provide you with more or less the same amount of nutrients as three ounces of fresh veggies. So drinking it regularly won’t make up for a diet poor in veggies but can, none the less, be an easy way to add some extra nutrients to your day.

2. Claim: Wheatgrass Helps You Shed The Pounds

Some say that wheatgrass, due to its high nutrient density, provides your body with everything it needs, keeping it satisfied and, by the same token, curbing hunger and reducing cravings. Others say that wheatgrass stimulates the thyroid gland, which can, in itself, help fight obesity.

As nice as they sound, there is currently no scientific evidence supporting these claims. But, that doesn’t mean a daily shot of wheatgrass can’t help…

There’s definitely something to be said about the power of the mind! Once you decide on your goal, a daily reminder of that decision might be just the thing you need – and there are many worst reminders than a daily, nutrient-filled green shot!

VERDICT: There is no magic pill when it comes to weight loss. But a daily reminder of your decision can definitely help you persevere in your quest towards your goal.

wheatgrass health

3. Claim: Wheatgrass Oxygenize Your Body

This claim originates from wheatgrass’ high content of chlorophyll, a molecule that allows plants to produce energy from sunlight through a process called photosynthesis. What’s particularly fascinating about chlorophyll is that its structure is very similar to that of hemoglobin, a molecule known to carry oxygen from our lungs to the rest of our bodies. Since chlorophyll and hemoglobin are so similar in structure, intake of one could help your body produce more of the other.

Interestingly, some scientific evidence supporting this theory does exist. It comes in the form of a small study, performed on 32 patients with thalassaemia. Individuals with thalassaemia lack normally formed hemoglobin, which results in poor oxygen transport and destruction of vital red blood cells. To increase healthy hemoglobin levels, many individuals with this disorder must get regular blood transfusion. This particular study found that a daily intake of 3.5oz of wheatgrass led 50% of patients to require fewer transfusions, indicating that wheatgrass might have, at least in some people, a positive effect on hemoglobin levels.

Similarly, intake of 1oz of wheatgrass for 6 months was able to significantly increase hemoglobin levels in 348 terminally ill cancer patients.

VERDICT: Maybe true. It’s probable that wheatgrass helps oxygenize the body but few studies have investigated this effect. More evidence is needed to properly support this claim.

4. Claim: Wheatgrass Keeps Your Bones Strong

Wheatgrass’ alkalizing effect may, indeed, help you maintain strong bones. The idea that a highly acidic environment in the body can cause bone loss was first proposed more than 40 years ago. Since then, many studies investigating this effect have been performed, and evidence exists for both sides.

In short, a highly acidic environment, caused, for example, by a high intake of acidic foods such as meat and dairy, is thought to slowly weaken your bones. Of course, your kidneys are designed to counteract the effects of an acidic diet, keeping your body’s pH balanced. But this seems to only work up to a certain point, after which, the kidneys alone can no longer cope. That’s when negative effects on your bones can occur. It’s said your bones are most at risk if you have a low muscle and bone mass and regularly consume a highly acidic diet.

One thing to keep in mind is that a recent systematic review found no protective role of dietary acid load in bone disease. So if your diet already contains a good amount of fruit and vegetables, wheatgrass may not provide you any additional benefit. On the other hand, if your diet is plentiful of acid foods, wheatgrass’ alkalizing properties may contribute to diminishing your body’s acidity, providing you with a small added benefit.

VERDICT: Maybe true. Wheatgrass may help decrease the body’s acidity, by the same token protecting your bones. But then again, so can a plant-based diet and strength training exercise. So try opting for all three to maximize the effects on your skeleton!

wheatgrass shot

5. Claim: Wheatgrass Prevents And Cures Cancer

Cereal grasses are thought to have regenerative effects on our cells. In simpler words, they can help repair our DNA. So could fixing the damaged DNA in our bodies help ward off diseases such as cancer? Many seem to think so!

Animal and test tube studies seem to agree. For example, back in the 1980s, Dr. Chiu Nan Lai from the University of Texas Medical Centre found that extracts of wheatgrass and other green vegetables cancelled the damaging effects of two specific cancer-causing molecules. Green veggies were also observed to offer protection from radiation damages (such as from the effects of X-rays) with foods highest in chlorophyll offering the greatest protection. Recent research finally shows that wheatgrass could also help the body fight against leukemia.

But, does this mean that the same effect would occur in humans?

It’s possible. Wheatgrass is certainly high in antioxidants, which are known to be helpful in cancer prevention. What’s more, a study of 60 women with breast cancer found that wheatgrass was able to reduce some of the harmful effects of chemotherapy without altering the effectiveness of the treatment.

VERDICT: Maybe true for prevention but there’s lack of evidence for treatment. Some scientific support indeed exists for wheatgrass’ cancer-preventing properties and consuming this antioxidant-rich young shoot may also reduce some of the harmful effects of chemotherapy. However, wheatgrass’ cancer curing properties are likely exaggerated, as no evidence exists to support this claim.

6. Claim: Wheatgrass Helps Your Digestive System.

Regular consumers of wheatgrass powder can attest to it; this cereal grass sure does help keep bowel movements regular! It has its relatively high fibre content to thank for this effect.

But fibre not only helps keep you regular; it can also help decrease your cholesterol and make you feel fuller. Five grams of dehydrated cereal grass contributes to about 2g of fibre, which is equivalent to about 50g cooked whole wheat cereal, 100g apple or 300g spinach.

What’s more, a small 2002 study found that patients suffering from an inflammation of the colon (also known as ulcerative colitis) saw their symptoms improve after drinking 3.5oz of wheatgrass daily for one month. These results are definitely encouraging! But since only 23 individuals were included in this study, further findings are needed to confirm the effect.

VERDICT: Probably true. 3oz of wheatgrass juice generally contains more fibre than the same quantity of most fruits and vegetables. Including it in your diet can thus be an easy way to gift your body and digestive system with fibre’s many benefits!

fresh wheatgrass

7. Claim: Wheatgrass Helps Detoxify Your Liver

There is much talk around the “detoxifying effect of wheatgrass” but, unfortunately, there is not much hard evidence to back up this claim. The only research to date regarding the protective role of fresh wheatgrass juice was performed on rats with compromised livers. Although the results were promising, no human studies have been published on the subject to date.

VERDICT: The jury is out on this one until more research is made available!

8. Claim: Wheatgrass Helps Rejuvenate Your Skin

Some skin benefits linked to wheatgrass include the capacity to regenerate skin cells, help you get rid of acne, overcome dryness or eczema and even treat discolouration. A quick dab of wheatgrass juice to the skin can apparently also slow down aging and accelerate the healing process after a sunburn. So could wheatgrass help you achieve a glowing complexion?

As nice as these claims sound, the trouble remains that nearly no scientific evidence can be found to support them.

VERDICT: Unlikely true but more evidence is needed. Wheatgrass may not be the fountain of youth, but crossing your fingers and giving it a try can’t hurt!

wheatgrass juice

9. Claim: Wheatgrass Helps You Heal Faster

Back in the 1940s, chlorophyll was considered the MVP when it came to antiseptic properties. It was successfully used in hospitals to treat open wounds and to prevent infections as well as growth of unfriendly bacteria. Chlorophyll packs were even inserted into the sinuses to clear up congestion, giving immediate relief from the common cold!

So, with wheatgrass being high in chlorophyll, is it safe to assume that eating or drinking it it will produce the same beneficial effects?

Not necessarily! Let’s first remember that the chlorophyll found in all green leafy vegetables, including wheatgrass, is locked in by cellulose. Cellulose is a compound that our human digestive tracts cannot digest… So, wheatgrass’ chlorophyll content is difficulty freed or absorbed in sufficient quantities to produce the same effects as when directly utilized, making this claim quite unlikely.

VERDICT: Unlikely true. Ingestion of chlorophyll may very well have positive effects on our healing ability but there is not evidence that consuming wheatgrass will do the same.

10. Claim: Wheatgrass Helps Regulate Your Blood Sugar Levels

Wheatgrass seems to have some positive effects on blood sugar levels. In animal studies, it increased both insulin production and sensitivity and, overall, helped the body be more efficient at dealing with glucose. These are definitely interesting findings since better regulation of blood glucose can help balance your energy levels and curb food cravings, both of which can have a direct impact on your waistline and overall wellbeing.

VERDICT: Maybe true. It is possible that wheatgrass helps regulate your blood sugar levels, but more evidence, especially in humans, is needed to properly support this claim.

wheatgrass smoothie

11. Claim: Wheatgrass Gets Rid Of Bad Breath And Body Odour

Many fans of wheatgrass boast about it’s potent body-odour busting and breath-freshening effects. But to date, only a few studies looked at this claim. And the results are mixed.

Some report that chlorophyllin (a derivative from chlorophyll) can decrease urinary and fecal odours in incontinent patients. On the other hand, a placebo-controlled trial found chlorophyllin to be no more effective than the placebo at reducing fecal odour. As for the young grass’ effect on your oral hygiene…don’t hold your breath as no scientific evidence was found to support this purported “freshening” effect!

VERDICT: Unlikely true, as not much scientific evidence exists for this one. But perhaps the best (un-scientific) way to make up your mind is by having a green shot after a delicious garlic-infused meal!

12. Claim: Wheatgrass Increases Sport Performance

Wheatgrass juice is sometimes advertised as a source of quickly absorbed sugars, able to provide the body with a quick source of fuel to boost sport performance. This is an interesting claim, isn’t it? Take a green shot right before going to the gym, and improve your workout capability!

It’s too bad that this effect is very unlikely. Nutritional analysis of wheatgrass shows it contains about 2g of carbohydrates per 100ml of juice. So to get anything close to a boost in performance, you’d have to consume close to a litre of wheatgrass juice! And that’s without accounting for the fact it also contains protein and fibre, both of which are known to decrease the speed of absorption of carbohydrates, making the effect unlikely even if you were, somehow, able to consume that much green liquid in one sitting!

VERDICT: Not true. Whole fruit, fruit juice or even a slice of white bread with jam are all better sources of quick sugars to consume prior to a sweat session.

wheatgrass powder

13. Claim: Wheatgrass Helps With Your Dental Health

Wheatgrass juice is claimed to be an excellent remedy against tooth decay and pyorrhoea (an inflammatory disease of the tissues supporting the teeth). But don’t throw out your mouthwash just yet! As was the case with its purported antiseptic properties, research only links chlorophyll to these positive effects. Since the chlorophyll content of wheatgrass is not easily absorbed by human intestines, the effects are unlikely directly associated to the green shoots.

VERDICT: Unlikely true, as not much scientific evidence exists for this claim. But if you so wish, why not give wheatgrass a try and test this for yourself?

How To Use Wheatgrass?

Have you decided to give wheatgrass a try? You’ll be glad to know that many options are available to you! You can consume this grass either as a juice made of freshly squeezed raw wheatgrass, opt to use wheatgrass powder stirred in a glass of water or stick with compact capsules. 

Does Wheatgrass Have Any Side Effects?

To date, not much is known about the long term safety of consuming wheatgrass. But it’s worth noting that wheatgrass can cause nausea, appetite loss or even constipation in some people.


Users Comments:

  • Jordan Ring

    Despite all of the undiscovered potential of wheatgrass, it still sounds like it would be a good idea to at least try it! I sounds like it would probably oxygenize your body, help to up your fiber intake, and possibly aid in cancer prevention. I’d say its worth a try!

  • Jewelia

    It seems as though all of your comments are inconclusive and have insufficient research
    behind them. Everyone that I know, myself included have showed powerful results from
    consuming fresh wheatgrass juice. Have you taken it upon yourself to grow it, juice it, and drink it for a 6 month trial? You might be pleasantly surprised. I also promote eating fresh organic fruits and vegetables as well. You might want to do your research on the truth about GMO’s and pesticides in our foods….this might have some very far reaching benefits for everyone reading this site. Thanks.

  • Robert

    hyped as “13 Debunked Benefits Of Wheatgrass For Vibrant Health” but no convincing debunking, though the 3oz vs 2.5lbs equivalence is more likely – however one takes wheatgrass juice raw (with undamaged proteins and etc), while many vegetables are usually cooked.

  • Donna

    I from experience am a big fan, I was bitten by a pet rat and my hand swelled up, doctor gave me antibiotics for the celulitus and pain meds, nothing worked, was a month. I was turned onto Wheat Grass juice and in two days the swelling went down, I continued on it and hand went back to normal. happend so fast that the skin on my fingers was actually baggy. I have used it for when I caught a cold, or bornchitis and I believe it sped up the healing, also used it after my second C- section and I beleive I was able to recover quicker

  • Louis

    My first ounce of wheat grass tasted horrible (I was very toxic). But I kept taking it because it was highly recommended as a blood cleanser and detoxifier by Tom & Trish, owners of the health food restaurant Enzyme Express in Anchorage, Alaska in the mid 1980’s. Over a period of about two-three months I increased my daily intake to two, three, four, six and then eight ounces a day. The more I drank the better it tasted (I was becoming more detoxified). If I increased the dosage too much, I would get nauseated because toxins were coming out of my body faster than it could process. So the next day I would reduce the dosage by one ounce or two depending on how I felt. When I felt I was ready to move to a higher dosage, I would take more.

    The more detoxified my body became the more heavenly the wheat grass juice tasted which I never thought would happen. The reason it tasted so good was that it was being grown in a remote area two hours from Anchorage and was getting 18-20 hours of sunlight each day and water from rain or a nearby stream coming down from snow covered mountains. Each blade of grass was 1/4 inch wide, a very dark green, and it tasted heavenly-awesomely good–nothing at all like the thin, pale green, bitter stuff grown indoors with muni water (yuk!) in other places.

    After my 8 ounces one Saturday morning, Tom&Trish had excess wheat grass on hand (they were going to be closed for the next two days during which time it would wilt and start to lose flavor and nutrients) and starting offering no limit, free fillups. I kept getting 1-2 ounces of free refills until I had consumed an additional 28 ounces which added to my 8 ounces in the morning–36 ounces for the day. At that point I felt nauseated because of all the toxins the body was releasing. But I held it down because I thought it might somehow be beneficial.

    The next day was one very unusual day. I was extremely mentally alert with boundless energy. My mind felt like a super computer. I was processing data and thoughts faster than I could vocalize. When someone started to chat with me, I knew exactly everything they were going to say before they said it. My mind felt like it was a hundred miles wide and it seemed like I could perceive what was going on for miles around me. It was like this the whole day. The following day I went to visit a dear friend and she told me that I looked younger like I had dropped 10 years.

    If you ever get a chance to grow your own wheatgrass or can get it after it has been planted on well-prepared soil, watered with rain or from a nearby stream coming down from snow-covered mountain tops and grown in 18-20 hours of sunlight, you will be in for a treat you have never ever before experienced. The physical and mental results are too unbelievable for anyone to fully understand unless they have experienced how fantastically good wheatgrass can taste when it is grown under the above ideal conditions and taken to the max over a regulated period of time. If you take too much too soon, you will get nauseated. Just back off for a day or so and then resume. You will never forget that wonderful experience. If only everyday could be like that!!!

    • Penny

      Sounds like Louis had a surreal experience with wheatgrass, which I would love to have. I don’t care for the powder, but the closest I have found to fresh is frozen (not all frozen is alike, some considerably fresher than others I tried.) I drink 4 oz a day and feel so much better! Trying to learn more about the actual benefits and what other amazing plants and herbs are available to make me feel good.

    • grai

      do you have a history of mental illness?

      • Letitia

        You should stay in your low energy 3 dimensional world and stop polluting. If you dont understand what happened to him not even a little you probably never will..

    • Mariah

      “When someone started to chat with me, I knew exactly everything they were going to say before they said it. ” Yeahhhh, this is where I’m going to back off on your comment now. Lay off the drugs, lady.

  • Ted

    Thank you for the article , I’ve been using this (swishing) to try to heal a tooth that is decayed (toothache) , not yet sure if it works.
    I have a question for anyone:
    As far as drinking , say 4 0z a day, for general benefits, what would the proper mix
    be if you are using powder form? A teaspoon of powder to 4 0z water 1/2 teaspoon ?
    Does it matter, so long as the mix is fairly dark ?

  • Ted

    Pleases delete my above comment, I didn’t realize this site was moderated,
    free speech is much too important to me to patronize any ‘moderated’ sites.

  • Mike

    whoever wrote this is categorically wrong
    do your own research and decide for yourself

    ALSO – the grass has to be fresh and alive prior to all these tests, clearly you used something else
    are you also afraid of the terrible terrible stuff marijuana
    go play Pokemon


    it makes my blood boil we have been eating food since we first walked the earth, so when i keep hearing these magic word NO EVIDENCE, NO RESEARCH WTF. ever since the chemical industry got involved in creating drugs for profit, all natural healing food took a back seat mainly because you cannot patent plants or herbs, its a disgrace,

  • Teeth man

    I completely agree with David Jones, What did humans do before these artificial treatments came in. We used natural remedies from the wild to treat all sorts of symptoms. People need to realize this.

    What do you people think of using wheatgrass to help with their dental problems, people have said it’s better than oil pulling?


  • J.B.

    We have a Kansas wheat farm and we grow non GMO wheat berries. At the present time a bushel (60 lbs) costs $5…..That is about 6 months to a years supply if you are growing it for one person, depending on your consumption level. This is the best nutritional food value possibly in the history of the world. But You need to grow your grass (not powder) I grow in a flat in organic base-its very easy-takes a week to 10 days.
    But Here is the wheat grass consumption regimen that is critical in my opinion and usually ignored. Many people think of taking it as a shot ‘wild west style’ and gulping it down-WRONG!!! Very little benefit will be obtained as the nutritional value is destroyed by stomach acids-lets face it we are not cows and are not meant to digest this. In order to get real benefit, take your wheat grass juice and swish around in your mouth like mouthwash for at least a minute and/or up to five minutes. This will allow sublingual absorption which is critical. IMHO this explains why many do not report any benefits from wheatgrass!
    Interesting in Kansas very few (frankly I haven’t seen anyone) takes a wheat grass juice regimen-and they are very unhealthy-go figure…
    Let’s take charge of our health for literally penny’s per day and live longer and healthier!!

  • NaturalKinkyCurly--Marie

    Nothing was Debunked. If anything I now , more than ever want to try wheatgrass. I’ll be visiting my local Health Food store Or the Indian Fresh Food store for some pure non-GMO wheatgrass. Too many people who have used this benefited greatly from the healing properties for me to just ignore it; and listen to the words of some article. Ironically, this Article actually supports most of what is said about the benefits of wheatgrass, in an attempt to debunk. Wow.

    Great Article,

    Great article, Thanks!

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