Although we are still a long way from curing Alzheimer’s Disease, we do know about some of its causes. Just like plaque buildup in your arteries contributes to heart disease, plaque buildup in the brain has been consistently found present in senile patients. This plaque is mostly made up of a protein called Beta-Amyloid. In addition, Alzheimers patients also exhibit high levels of oxidative stress that destroys their cells contributing to the symptoms of dementia. These malfunctions are responsible for killing brain cells and are the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).
Can Wheatgrass Help?
In two separate South Korean studies, wheatgrass was used to challenge both the beta-amyloid plaque and the oxidative stress. Beta-amyloid protein was injected into adult rats (in vivo) and also into cultured cells (in vitro). After injection, the rats started showing signs of cellular degradation both from DNA fragmentation and alterations in their mitochondria (which means each cell produced less energy). Basically, their brain cells were dying due to the increased presence of beta-Amyloid plaque.
Then, researchers at the College of Oriental Medicine, in Daegu Korea, fed the increasingly demented rats wheatgrass juice. The wheatgrass fed rats were better able to suppress the oxidative stress caused by the beta-amyloid and had an overall improved cellular defense. How was this possible? Wheatgrass increased the production of their glutathione which is one of the body’s best antioxidants protecting us from cellular degradation caused by free radicals. To further verify the effect of wheatgrass, the rats were also put through a water maze for 5 days to test their spatial memory and cognitive ability. The wheatgrass-fed rats found their way through the maze faster than the non-wheatgrass rats. The researchers reported “Wheatgrass effectively inhibited A beta-induced cytotoxicity….These results suggest that TALE (wheatgrass extract) may have preventive and/or therapeutic potential in the management of AD (Alzheimers Disease).”
Phytother Res. 2010 Jan;24(1):76-84. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2871 –– Neuroprotective effects of Triticum aestivum L. against beta-amyloid-induced cell death and memory impairments.
The second Korean study focused on vascular dementia which involves blockage problems with the blood supply to the brain causing mini-strokes that are so minor they sometimes go unnoticed but over time can lead to full blown dementia. It’s the second most common cause of dementia next to Alzheimer’s and there are no drugs available for it. But scientists at the Kyungpook National University School of Medicine demonstrated that “a water extract of wheatgrass” (wheatgrass juice) and some of its phytochemical components were able to protect the myelin sheath which prevented neuron death and its deterioration into vascular dementia. In the water maze test, the wheatgrass fed rats consistently navigated their way through faster than the non-wheatgrass fed rats. “These results suggest that TALE (wheatgrass juice) and some of its components can be used as a medicinal material for the development of neuroprotective agents against vascular dementia.”
J Med Food. 2010 Jun;13(3):572-8. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2009.1242. –– Water extract of Triticum aestivum L. and its components demonstrate protective effect in a model of vascular dementia.
Although wheatgrass should not be considered a panacea, it is indeed a powerful herbal medicine that researchers are consistently proving what wheatgrass users all over the world have already known—Wheatgrass works! But you won’t find your doctor recommending it anytime soon because big pharma can’t patent grass. But don’t let that stop you. You can grow it and juice it yourself. You can drink a pleasant tasting extract of it (Supershots). You can add the dried juice powder to your smoothie; you can get the frozen juice delivered. And you can even put wheatgrass cream on wounds to speed up healing. Every form of wheatgrass does something good for you. Always keep some available whether in your medicine chest, your garden, or your refrigerator. It’s powerful medicine.
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