The official site of bestselling author Michael Shermer The official site of bestselling author Michael Shermer

Wheatgrass Juice & Folk Medicine

published August 2008
Why subjective anecdotes often trump objective data
magazine cover

The recent medical controversy over whether vaccinations cause autism reveals a habit of human cognition — thinking anecdotally comes naturally, whereas thinking scientifically does not.

On the one side are scientists who have been unable to find any causal link between the symptoms of autism and the vaccine preservative thimerosal, which in the body breaks down into ethylmercury, the culprit du jour for autism’s cause. On the other side are parents who noticed that shortly after having their children vaccinated autistic symptoms began to appear. These anecdotal associations are so powerful that they cause people to ignore contrary evidence: ethylmercury is expelled from the body quickly (unlike its chemical cousin methylmercury) and therefore cannot accumulate in the brain long enough to cause damage. And in any case, autism continues to be diagnosed in children born after thimerosal was removed from most vaccines in 1999; today trace amounts exist in only a few.

The reason for this cognitive disconnect is that we have evolved brains that pay attention to anecdotes because false positives (believing there is a connection between A and B when there is not) are usually harmless, whereas false negatives (believing there is no connection between A and B when there is) may take you out of the gene pool. Our brains are belief engines that employ association learning to seek and find patterns. Superstition and belief in magic are millions of years old, whereas science, with its methods of controlling for intervening variables to circumvent false positives, is only a few hundred years old. So it is that any medical huckster promising that A will cure B has only to advertise a handful of successful anecdotes in the form of testimonials.

Take wheatgrass juice … if you can stomach it. The claims for its curative powers bottomless. According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (the “bible” of natural medicines), wheatgrass is “used therapeutically for increasing hemoglobin production, improving blood sugar disorders such as diabetes, preventing tooth decay, improving wound healing, and preventing bacterial infections.” And that’s not all. “It is also used orally for common cold, cough and bronchitis, fever and colds, inflammation of mouth and pharynx, tendency to infection, gout, liver disorders, ulcerative colitis, cancer, rheumatic pain, and chronic skin problems.”

The alleged salubrious effects of wheatgrass were promoted in the 1940s by a Lithuanian immigrant to Boston named Ann Wigmore, a holistic health practitioner who was inspired by the biblical story of King Nebuchadnezzar, recounted in Daniel 4:33, in which “he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.” Wigmore also noted that dogs and cats eat grass when they are ill and feel better after regurgitation, which gave her the idea of the wheatgrass detox. Because we have fewer stomachs than cows do, she hatched the idea of blending freshly cut wheatgrass into juice form for easier digestion — through either orifice — a practice still employed today. She believed that the enzymes and chlorophyll in wheatgrass constitute its healing powers.

According to William T. Jarvis, a retired professor of public health at the Loma Linda University School of Medicine and founder of the National Council against Health Fraud, this is all baloney: “Enzymes are complex protein molecules 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.” Jarvis adds, “The fact that grass-eating animals are not spared from cancer, despite their large intake of fresh chlorophyll, seems to have been lost on Wigmore. In fact, chlorophyll cannot ‘detoxify the body’ because it is not absorbed.”

I tried wheatgrass juice at the Oh Happy Days natural food store in Altadena, Calif., as part of an investigation for the pilot episode of Skeptologists, a series we hope to sell to a television network (where another biblical phrase is apropos: “Many are called, but few are chosen”). My co-stars — Kirsten Sanford, who has a Ph.D. in physiology and is now a science journalist, and Steven Novella, director of general neurology at the Yale School of Medicine — also imbibed. If a picture is worth a thousand words, I will double this essay’s length by sharing the snapshot above.

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42 Comments to “Wheatgrass Juice & Folk Medicine”

  1. Mark Smith, MBBS, FRACS. Says:

    I love it…yet more objective scrutiny for the obsessive “natural therapies” industry.
    I’m a surgeon..Spend my working life fixing peoples bones with a variety of implants that give them a huge increase in their quality of life. Plus when I’m on call I save the odd life and limb in trauma surgery.
    I’m getting fed up with the number of patients who come to me and ask if they can have a “natural” anesthetic, and can they use this or that “herbal” palliative in their surgical site to prevent MRSI! When I explain that I can’t place anything in them that I can’t guarantee is sterile and safe, they get annoyed and accuse me of being in the hands of the drug companies! They tell me their naturopath has told them that pharmaceutical companies control medicine and that using this or that herb will ensure they have a successful surgery.
    Keep it up.

  2. Chris Hunter Says:

    The downright quackery of the “natural medicine” brigade and the “homeopaths” need to be debunked as dangerous nonsense. T

    The “religious” objections to some medical procedures also need to be shown for the stupidities that they are. I’m sick and tired of people of various “religious” persuasions rejecting necessary treatments for their children or elderly relatives.

    The medical profession need to stand up to these deluded fools, and they need to be prosecuted (for negligence) if they persist.

  3. Dan Says:

    If you haven’t seen it, take a look at

    I participate in several disease-related online discussion groups,and they are often filled with messages by people pushing alternative medicine cures or preventions to members who are scared and desperate. It is tempting to believe in these claims. They can be hard to resist. You say to yourself – Can it hurt to try them? But, in the group I moderate, we really discourage them. It does make some of the other groups more lively – but less useful.

  4. Tammy Says:

    I recently volunteered at an adoption booth at a local dog carnival. A woman accosted me at my table selling the “next level” of “stem cell inhancers” which, from what I could gleen from her frantic sell job, was dried green aglae in capsules. She had apparently gone from being on her death bed to building retaining walls single handedly in a matter of a few weeks just by taking a couple of capsules a dat. I wish I were more quick witted in these circumstances, I could have at least suggested that she get her own booth. Ugh!

  5. sitbytheriver Says:

    The problem with anecdotal evidence: It mistakes the placebo effect for the real deal, and by the time the placebo trance has worn off, glowing testimonials have been published.

  6. Dale Headley Says:

    According to a recent survey, 75% of all Americans believe in some form of nonsense. Why? Because science is not taught properly, if at all, in U.S. schools; and there is little respect for science as a pardigm, even among otherwise educated people. There is even less respect for it in the government. Thanks to a 1994 law passed by Republicans led by Orrin Hatch, in whose state most of the supplement industry resides, there is now almost no scientific scrutiny over what we are led to ingest, based solely on anecdotal and advertising clams.

  7. Robert Says:

    I read this article looking for references to studies that show that wheatgrass juice doesn’t do any good. But all you’ve got is the negative opinion of one professor who says wheatgrass can’t work because of X. Maybe that’s true – or maybe it does work (whatever that means) for entirely different reasons.

    Please don’t misunderstand: I’m not saying that wheatgrass juice works as a cure. I’m just saying that you’re falling into the same trap that the people who promote it are falling into: you’re making a claim about wheatgrass juice without any kind of study to back it up. Sometimes, not always, but once in a while, the anecdotal stories do point to the truth.

  8. John Beck Says:

    I agree with Dale Headley that Science (and more importantly critical thinking) are not taught properly in this country. After being in ‘Ed Biz’ for a couple of decades I have decided that this is so because, despite so much caterwauling about science education, our authorities do not want a public equipped to think.

    That is right: no politician, corporate executive, news caster, policeman, lawyer, cleric, or school principle wants to deal with people who really now how to ascertain the veracity of statements – it would make life hard on all of them – and many of them would be out-matched.

    Our major institutions (and our economy) are based on people uncritically swallowing whatever is foist upon them and obeying because ‘they know best’.

    If we were to properly educate students, they would start asking inconvenient questions and start digging for more (and better) information – this would lead to better decisions and eventually put many of our current ‘authorities’ out of work.

    They could never stand for that. So our education system is a glorified ‘test prep course’ – training seals (um students) to fill in the proper bubble on the form and make their school look good. And besides, the blissfully ignorant sleep better at night.

  9. gordy Says:

    Robert says “you’re making a claim about wheatgrass juice without any kind of study to back it up.”

    The article is not “making a claim”; it is responding to a positive claim about wheatgrass.

    Two of them: Ann Wigmore claims that the two things which make wheatgrass work are the enzymes and the chlorophyll.

    WT Jarvis simply states that the human body makes the enzymes it uses. When taken orally, enzymes are simply digested, broken apart. He also states that chlorophyll is not absorbed into the body.

    You don’t need a study to understand that those two components CAN’T do what Wigmore claimed they would do.

    If we’re talking about all the things wheatgrass can’t do, then we have a nearly infinite number of things we can list that can not make it work.

    For example, if there is no vitamin C in wheatgrass but somebody makes a positive claim that wheatgrass is good for you because of its vitamin C component, then one only need to point out that there is no vitamin C in wheatgrass, and wait for the next positive claim.

    We don’t need a study.

  10. Cedric Rogers Ph.D. Says:

    I put Thimerosol in my eyes as a contact lens cleaner (preservative) for years before my doctor told me it contained mercury. He then told me some people are allergic and took me off it because my eyes hurt. I was upset that I had even been subjected to mercury WITHOUT BEING TOLD. If it is upsetting to some people on contact, then it is likely to be upsetting to some others when injected.

    That’s a precautionary comment, not an anecdote. Such information should be disseminated with Thimerosol. Are we suggesting I should continue to use it because science says it is harmless?

  11. stephen Hartman Says:

    In response to comment 7: I sometimes say oogabooga when I get a headache and it cures it. I can find no references to show that doesn’t work — I searched Pub Med for “oogabooga and headache” and find no negative studies. Since I am making the claim, it is I who need positive studies to back up my claim if I wish to promote, sell, hype etc. my oogabooga cure for headaches.

    In response to cooment 10: You have always been exposed to many, many things without being told. I would venture to guess that whenever you eat a large salmon, or tuna, or any other large ocean-going fish you are also exposed to mercury. The package of fish doesn’t tell you that either.

    Your surmising that you might be allergic to thimerosol and that others might be upset by it if injected, has next to zero to do with whether thimerosal causes or is even associated with autism. Although not an anectode per se, the sort of thinking you display by linking various thoughts about mercury, allergy, “upsetting”, and by implication, autism is so similar to anecdotal thought and so far from evidence based “scientific” thought, that you make Michael Shermer’s point.

  12. William Bopp Says:

    To Stepen Hartman: I tried the oogabooga method for a headache that I had for several hour and it worked completely! Much better than did the ibuprofen, that I had tried not 20 minutes before trying the oogabooga method, which did nothing to help my headache. I am willing to be a proponent of your miracle cure should you decide to go to market.

  13. Ronald Meschire Says:

    As a group, can we all at least agree that Stephen Hartman is a jackass? Or do we require an intimate scientific study?

  14. Burt Smith Says:

    Dr. Shermer introduces us to Ann Wigmore who promotes wheatgrass and then to William Jarvis who says it’s bunk. So far it’s “she says vs. he says.” So where’s the scientific evidence, pro or con? If there isn’t any then we’re talking anecdotes on both sides. So one’s free to choose. I’ve tried wheat grass juice and it does taste bad. However, other species of grass in early stages of development taste sweet, especially if selected in the late afternoon when the carbohydrate content is largest. So try it. You probably won’t like it but at least you’ll get a better appreciation for those animals that do.

  15. stephen Hartman Says:

    To Burt Smith: Try this: go to Pub Med and search for “wheat grass and ….”. Try “…cancer”, or “….colitis”, or whatever you want to read a study about. That’s one place where the evidence is. But if you don’t have the background or inclination, or time to judge this evidence for yourself, then you can take advice from other people including either of the two people Michael Shermer refers to in his article. Google their names, read a bit about them or some of what they have written, and then decide whose advice you wish to take. I did these things and for what it’s worth, I’ll go with the advice of William T. Jarvis.

    And p.s for number 13: I’m fairly certain that name calling in a comments section is really not much allowed. As an exercise of penance for you, Google “argumentum ad hominem”

  16. Phil Roslaniec Says:

    I had a black ring around my right eye for days after being exposed to mercury. At first I thought it was the fault of the telescope I used, but after reading the above, I now know it was mercury poisoning.

  17. Rafe Furst Says:

    I agree with Robert (#7). While Shermer is correct in pointing out the flaw in anecdotal arguments, he makes a logical error of his own by asserting (or implying) that just because an anecdotal argument is flawed means that all of its merits should be discounted.

    For instance, regarding ethylmercury and autism, perhaps the anecdotes belie a different cause than they think, for instance perhaps it’s not the ethylmercury but rather the amount of bioactive virus particles loaded into a young developing system. Could it be that the protocol changes that removed ethylmercury brought with it a concomitant decrease in viral load which was masked by the attention paid to the mercury issue?

    Also, as Robert intimates, Shermer’s argument about why ethylmercury can’t be “the culprit” is a flawed anecdotal argument itself (ironic given that the article is about “Why subjective anecdotes often trumps objective data”). Just because ethylmercury is expelled and therefore cannot accumulate to toxic dose level, this does NOT mean that ethylmercury cannot be a catalyst for all sorts of biochemical and systemic reactions that don’t present until later.

    Finally, Shermer falls into a trap he should know better about given his recent communion with Stuart Kauffman and embracing of emergence and complexity theory. As anyone who takes complexity serious knows, causality is rarely so simple in biological systems as can be sussed out by weak statistical analyses. That is, just because a study does not FIND a correlation between a putative cause and an effect doesn’t mean there isn’t one. See this debunking of the debunking of the Hot Hand Hypothesis in basketball streaks:

    As Shermer well knows, causality itself is emergent:

    While I generally think Shermer is spot on, I think he really missed the boat on this one. As far as I know there isn’t a study on the cause(s) of autism out there that isn’t ridiculously flawed with respect to the conclusions it tries to draw. Even the “big boys” like the CDC and the American Academy of Neurology fall into these time-worn logic traps:

    And no, I’m not a parent or sibling of a person with autism, I just hate when fuzzy thinking masquerades as a scientific argument.

  18. pi6644 Says:

    Well, I used barley grass juice for a month and it worked wonders on my stomach. It killed excess acidity and gave me energy. I actually used barley grass powder, added water and some pineapple or apple juice for a better taste. 1 big glass on an empty stomach and sometimes 1 before or after dinner. The positive effect lasted 6 months during which I took no medicine, unlike last year when I was constantly taking anti-acidic pills and liquids. THen the effect started fading, so I took it again for a month and I am ok again. Placebo effect? who knows? who cares? To me, it’s a marvel. It’s good to be skeptical but you should also listen to the other side.

  19. Rafe Furst Says:

    Interestingly, I just read something from Ramachandran about how placebo effects work even if you know that placebo is the only active mechanism in play.

  20. Gary Cooper Says:

    There are so many things we do not understand about the human body. Does anyone have the foresight to acknowledge that sometimes a couple hundred years later we sound like fools. That is unless our assumptions and conclusions have stood the test of time.

  21. Mark Says:

    Do you know why people turn to alternative medicine?! It’s because doctors today are useless and mindless drones who do not treat people but rather medicate them. Have you seen that cough syrup commercial where a bunch of residence physicians are trying to find the ‘right’ medicine to treat the symptoms that a patient is experiencing? That’s all they do. They follow standard bs protocols such as blood test, and they match symptoms to a medicine in the mental database. They cannot think out of the box. The last physician I went to did not even look at me for more than a second. I was in and out in 5 minutes. But I waited for close to 2 hours :( It’s an abomination.

  22. John Says:

    What’s missing for me from the science about vaccines is that there is an overwhelming amount of anecdotal evidence, and very little scientific evidence studying the link that is not severely infected with serious conflicts of interest and, in addition, anlytical flaws. There are even scientific studies on primates that show a link. See And there something to the aversion to false negatives, isn’t there? For there is indeed, as we know, a great wisdom handed down through evolution. Indeed, if the vaccines are bad for you (in quantity or however). In this case a false negative really is bad, then you can’t take back the resulting brain damage. On the other hand with the low risk of these diseases in the US we can afford to wait for some more science and avoid this possible negative. And, even more scary, many times the evidence is entirely anecdotal prior to the scientific proof. For instance when the FDA approved silicon for breast implants or hormone therapy for women which caused breast cancer. And finally, not everyone claiming science is on their side is telling the truth. Where there is a tie, I look for a conflict of interest first. With the CDC, FDA and pharmaceutical companies I find one.

  23. Dan Says:

    Set forth below are two abstracts from scientific studies showing the beneficial effects of wheatgrass juice. Having been in cancer therapy for the past 4 years it is obvious that our pharmaceutically based medical industry has its eyes closed to the importance of nutrition, much less alternative nonpharmacological treatments. I’ve just begun my own pilot study with wheat grass since western medicine has no answers for my severely damaged bone marrow.

    The first one is from: Wheat Grass Juice Reduces Transfusion Requirement in Patients with
    Thalassemia Major: A Pilot Study R.K. Marwaha, Deepak Bansal, Siftinder Kaur and Amita Trehan
    From the Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, Advanced
    Pediatric Center, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research,
    Chandigarh 160 012, India.
    The treatment of transfusion dependent
    b-thalassemia imposes a considerable burden
    on the family and institutional resources. In
    economically challenged nations, basic
    management (red cell transfusions, iron
    chelation) is a distant dream for the majority,
    who, consequently, endure a poor quality of
    life. In chronic illnesses, seeking remedy in
    alternate systems of medicine is a common
    practice. After learning of the potential
    benefits, some patients started consuming
    wheat grass juice, which has been promoted as
    a supplementary health food/tonic for many
    years. Atleast 3 of these children perceived an
    increase in the interval between transfusions
    with the desired level of hemoglobin
    being maintained for a longer period. The
    observations were significant and prompted us
    to scientifically evaluate the effects of wheat
    grass juice therapy in patients with transfusion
    dependent b-thalassemia.
    Subjects and Methods
    Randomly selected patients with transfusion
    dependent b-thalassemia, enrolled in the
    thalassemia unit of the Advanced Pediatrics
    Center were recruited for the study. Patients
    were enrolled irrespective of whether
    they were receiving chelation therapy with
    defiriperone/desferrioxamine or not.
    Manuscript received: July 29, 2003, Initial review completed: November 19, 2003;
    Revision accepted: January 11, 2004.
    Wheat grass juice is the juice extracted from the pulp of wheat grass and has been used as a
    general-purpose health tonic for several years. Several of our patients in the thalassemia unit
    began consuming wheat grass juice after anecdotal accounts of beneficial effects on transfusion
    requirements. These encouraging experiences prompted us to evaluate the effect of wheat grass
    juice on transfusion requirements in patients with transfusion dependent beta thalassemia.
    Families of patients raised the wheat grass at home in kitchen garden/pots. The patients consumed
    about 100 mL of wheat grass juice daily. Each patient acted as his own control. Observations
    recorded during the period of intake of wheat grass juice were compared with one-year period
    preceding it. Variables recorded were the interval between transfusions, pre-transfusion
    hemoglobin, amount of blood transfused and the body weight. A beneficial effect of wheat grass
    juice was defined as decrease in the requirement of packed red cells (measured as grams/Kg body
    weight/year) by 25% or more. 16 cases were analyzed. Blood transfusion requirement fell by
    >25% in 8 (50%) patients with a decrease of >40% documented in 3 of these. No perceptible
    adverse effects were recognized.

    The second article is published in Nutrition and Cancer 2007;58(1):43-8.
    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.
    Division of Oncology, Rambam Medical Center and Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 31096, Israel.

    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.

    PMID: 17571966 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

  24. Sergio Says:

    In my opinion, the big problem for medicine, and most of its medical practitioners, is that they don’t understand well what a science is. They don’t have the vision and perplexity of pure mathematics or physics, neither the humility of engineers. Most of doctors just learn some models of human body, according with the state of the art or their school. But models change everyday… One very smart joke, as a picture in the toilet of one bedroom at MIT hotel, Cambridge, MA) showed two scientist admiring their beautiful equation, but one said “The problem is we’ll figure out it is wrong tomorrow”.
    And that is what happen with medicine, we still don’t know anything about morphogenesis, neuroscience or even how to model any complex non linear interaction in any real system, but some believe (yes, that’s all, a believe) to know what is True, and what is false. The same as the old Inquisition.

    There are good and bad practitioners in any discipline, occidental, Chinese or holistic medicine. And that’s in my opinion the point: the people but not the discipline.

  25. Jan Says:

    I have a type of hemolytic anemia from G6PD deficiency. I had read about positive effects of wheatgrass in articles like the one above as well as on a forum for people with thalassemia.

    After a hemolytic crisis I have tried to build my hemoglobin back up with iron, vitamin c, B12, folic acid, and even 1/2 pound of lean red meat every day with no results. But if I add a few teaspoons of wheat grass powder to the mix my blood count immediately starts rising. I have no idea why, but it’s saving me from transfusions.

    If the best lie is 99% truth then maybe we should be looking at these “false claims” that people fall for and try to figure out what might be some valid empirical evidence instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water.

  26. Honest Hans Says:

    The sad reality is that conventional medicine is not evidence based. Conventional medicine has been polluted by misleading and fradulent research put out by drug companies and the self-promoting doctors who rely on them for research grants.

    Physicians in this country easily kill a thousand Americans a day, but Michael Shermer is worried about wheatgrass juice.

  27. R. Horovitz Says:

    William T. Jarvis’ view on chlorophyll can be found:

    It is an extremely weak article (if you can even call it that). There are only 3 references; two of which are his own.

    Find me scientific data that proves that chlorophyll can not be utilized by the human body and I am open to reading it. Cellulose,which is a fiber from plants can not be absorbed, however chlorophyll is simply a pigment.

    I agree with what some of you have said regarding science. Having a Bachelor Begree in Biology with a area of concentration of Molecular Biology and Organic Chemistry I can tell you all that science is the continuous pursuit of the truth.

    Constructing better studies to include control groups and attempt to identify specific properties of different substances for health and well being is a tremendous feat no doubt. That said, it is also very reductionist.

    Wheatgrass like general raw food (you know the stuff by which we all evolved from?) is in its entirety a huge complex of nutrients that work synergistic with each other.

    For general health and well being, I believe that whole foods are the way to go. Time and time disease risk factors decrease not with individualized compounds (natural or pharmaceutical), but with whole foods; increased fruit and vegetable consumption. Wheatgrass happens to be an extremely nutrient dense whole food.

    Yes our body produces enzymes, however it requires building blocks from food. Otherwise we wouldn’t be absolutely dependent on food in the first place.

    Science is not close minded and open minded perspectives can be indeed very scientific.

    I wish you all the best,

    R. Horovitz

  28. J. Ferguson Says:

    Until man can create a blade of grass, nature laughs at our so called knowledge of “science”!

  29. Stormy Thorndike Says:

    you can say that alternative medicine is cheaper too and usually comes from natural sources ~-‘

  30. RM Says:

    I have a child with autism, and from my experience and that of other parents of children with this problem, it seems these children’s bodies have issues detoxing properly. They have problems with methlyation and sulphanation, which are processes of detoxing and repairing the body. So that causes their body not to rid iteself of heavy metals like mercury, antimoney, copper, etc. They have limited diets due to sensory problems so they don’t get enough nutrients to help their bodies function properly or detox. Most of them also have heavy bacterial and yeast overgrowths, in addition to gut dysbiosis. So their bodies are overwhelmed with toxins, cannot detox properly, and their digestive systems do not absorb nutrition properly.
    Wheatgrass akalizes the body and kills off harmful bacteria like clostridia and yeast. It is full of nutrients, antioxidents, and phytonutrients, and if taken in liquid form can be more easily absorbed by the body. It has been proven to help with digestive/intestinal issues like ulcerative colitis, which some severely autistic children have. On top of it all, wheatgrass purifies the blood and promotes healthy cellular growth.
    How could that not be helpful to a very sick child?
    Come to my house and meet my 6 yr old boy with autism. His ears turn red during cleansing baths and after eating certain foods. This does not happen to his brother, who is not autistic. He has leaky gut syndrome, and has to take enzymes after meals to break down his food, because he has trouble absorbing proteins, carbs, and other nutrients. He cannot digest milk or wheat proteins because his body lacks the enzymes to break them down.
    Mr. Scientist, come see my son after he eats these things, because he acts crazy and out of control. Maybe you will change your mind that enzymes are useless. I know his father did.
    My son has had a huge improvement in reduction of autistic behaviors, temper tantrums, and hyperactivity since we started giving him a formula w/ wheatgrass each morning. On the days he doesn’t have it, things are much rougher.

  31. Maria Perales Says:

    While scientific studies into the benefits of drinking wheat grass juice are few, analysis of the chemical components of wheat grass show that it provides a wide range of vitamins, enzymes and other nutrients that have been linked to disease prevention and specific health benefits. Couple that with recent and ongoing research into the role of diet and nutrition in our health, particularly studies that strongly suggest the effectiveness of phytonutrients and vitamins in combating and reversing disease, and there is good reason to believe that the claims made for wheat grass and wheat grass juice have basis in truth.

    What Wheat Grass Does:
    Wheat grass has nearly a gram of protein per teaspoon, but contains no cholesterol or fat. It provides eight of the essential amino acids, and thirteen of the non-essential amino acids. It contains Vitamins A, B1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, and 12; C, E and K, as well as 15mg of Calcium, 8mcg Iodine, 3.5mcg Selenium, 870mcg Iron, 62mcg Zinc, and many other minerals.

    Mr. Shermer, you and your colleagues are one group of ignorant people,Phd’s doctorates and whatnots. Please don’t spread ignorance.

  32. Miles McDude Says:

    Unfortunately, the internet has not only weakened our faith in education, but in ANYTHING said by people…ever.

    Although this was far more enriching than the pro wheatgrass ads, it still seems a bit like Santa vs. the Tooth Fairy.

    Here’s what I’ve learned:

    Raw folks: Quit mentioning nutrients in wheatgrass. Science won that round.

    Science folks (who can also be raw folks): Find something harmful about wheatgrass other than its potential placebo effect.

    Thank you all for your intelligence, and contributions to humanity. Somebody’s gotta do it.


  33. stacey siegal Says:

    After reading the back and forth info/theories,rtc. re wheatgrass, I have an important question.
    My husband is suffering terribly from the side effects of chemo for non-hodgkins lymphoma. We’re trying to keep him strong with extra juices,etc. Is there any possible harm to his blood chemistry from adding wheatgrass? I ask this because doctors have told him to avoid taking multivitamins to preclude the growth (and “feeding”) of his active cancer cells.
    I appreciate any/all comments. Thanks.

  34. Molly Says:

    I see here, once again, a person who is completely uneducated about both autism and vaccine injuries claiming that the other side is the uneducated one. It is not a debate between science and dumb parents with anecdotes who are confused about the differences between correlation and causation. There are MANY scientists who are trying to find the source of the environmental triggers that seem to increase the likelihood of autism.

    Autism is a neurological disorder. Vaccines are a *known cause* of other neurological disorders, such as epilepsy, paralysis, and Guillan-Barre syndrome. A quick search on the FDA website will corroborate this claim. In the past, particular vaccines have been eliminated from the schedule (Rotarix) or changed in formula (DTP vs the new DTaP) because the rate of neurological damage was unacceptably high.

    Many parents of autistic children are well educated. Some parents are doctors, scientists, and engineers. They, and other scientists *working in the field of autism research* are not willing to dismiss the link between autism and vaccines. If you claim to be on the side of “science”, perhaps you should do some research on the topic at hand before smugly claiming that you know more about autism than the thousands of parents and scientists who see an obvious environmental trigger in some children.

  35. Mark Says:

    “What Wheat Grass Does:
    Wheat grass has nearly a gram of protein per teaspoon, but contains no cholesterol or fat. It provides eight of the essential amino acids, and thirteen of the non-essential amino acids. It contains Vitamins A, B1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, and 12; C, E and K, as well as 15mg of Calcium, 8mcg Iodine, 3.5mcg Selenium, 870mcg Iron, 62mcg Zinc, and many other minerals.”

    I bet you don’t even know half of what you just said. The body can’t even absorb every nutrient you put in. You could take multivitamins and drink pints of wheat grass a day and your body will expel most of the vitamins and minerals it doesn’t need.

  36. MK Says:

    Chlorophyll is soluble in fat particles, which are absorbed directly into blood via the lymphatic
    system. In other words, when the ―blood‖ of plants is absorbed in humans it is transformed into
    human blood, which transports nutrients to every cell of the body. Chlorophyll present in
    wheatgrass can protect us from carcinogens; it strengthens the cells, detoxifies the liver and
    blood stream, and chemically neutralizes the polluting elements.

  37. RHONE Says:

    I prefer “Death by Modern Medicine” over any natural substance. It’s the pop culture thing to do. We merely suffer from petrochemical deficiencies. Vioxx still roxx.

  38. Dr.Anmol Dhawan Says:

    do you know the reality of all murderer allopaths are husband of there mother.
    now regarding the cure tell one condition which allopathy cures,no conditions.
    allopathy is in market only due to the marketing .it is well said poison rules with the help of marketing (in this case allopathy)and nector remains at home despite its potent curable power without marketing (in this case homeopathy and natural remedies)

  39. David Says:

    khorasan grass or “kamut” wheat grass is the mother of all wheatgrass…. I actually get Kamut wheatgrass JUICE powder… Saves me hours a day.

    Besides being able to afford to eat pounds of Khorasan wheat grass for a dollar a pound I haven’t cleaned my juicer in months and hours a day are back in my hands… It’s the way of the future juicer…….

  40. John Says:

    Yeah I actually started getting wheatgrass “kamut” as well. It is MUCH stronger and @ for $49 a pound which is around 50 pounds of fresh wheat grass all juiced up for when ever I need it… You are totally right about not needing to CLEAN my old juicer. I used to cut my fingers daily and it took hours of my day! is amazing!!!

  41. John Smith Says:

    Here are some medical journal abstracts from pubmed to update this subject:

    Two of these abstracts appear to have been available before Mr. Shermer wrote his article.

  42. Carrie Says:

    I see, so wheat grass is really just guilty of not being well-studied. Perhaps it would be best to study wheat grass BEFORE condemning it and assuming that all people who have experienced alleged health benefits are unscientific and guilty of passing anecdotes off as science. Hmmmmmm…. It appears to me that the author and some of the commenters here may benefit from understanding the principles of scientific inquiry. Since wheat grass has not yet been studied, then its potential benefits or drawbacks have yet to be understood. Period.

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