Wheatgrass is the young grass of the common wheat plant, Triticum aestivum. It contains high concentrations of chlorophyll, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Some people take wheatgrass shots or powder on an empty stomach to maximize absorption of these nutrients.
There is some debate around whether taking wheatgrass on an empty stomach is safe or beneficial. This article will examine the potential pros and cons to help you decide if wheatgrass is right for you.
Potential benefits of taking wheatgrass on an empty stomach
There are a few reasons why some people recommend taking wheatgrass on an empty stomach:
- Increased nutrient absorption – Taking wheatgrass before eating ensures your body can fully absorb the nutrients without interference from other foods.
- Reduced food reactions – Some report fewer allergic reactions when taking wheatgrass alone rather than with other foods.
- Faster effects – On an empty stomach, some people feel an immediate energizing effect from wheatgrass that they don’t experience when taking it with food.
- Convenience – Taking wheatgrass first thing in the morning or before a workout is easier on an empty stomach.
However, there is limited scientific research specifically looking at taking wheatgrass on an empty stomach compared to with food. So some of these proposed benefits are anecdotal rather than proven.
Potential concerns with taking wheatgrass on an empty stomach
There are also some potential downsides to taking wheatgrass on an empty stomach:
- Blood sugar effects – Wheatgrass can lower blood sugar. This could potentially lead to hypoglycemia if taken before eating in people with diabetes or blood sugar regulation issues.
- Nausea – Some people experience nausea or vomiting from taking wheatgrass shots on an empty stomach.
- Interactions – Any medications taken first thing in the morning could potentially interact with wheatgrass.
So people with diabetes, blood sugar regulation issues, or who take any medications should exercise caution with taking wheatgrass on an empty stomach.
General dosing recommendations
There are no official guidelines for taking wheatgrass. But here are some general recommendations:
- Start with small doses – 1-2 ounces (30-60 mL) of wheatgrass juice or 50-100 mg wheatgrass powder.
- Work up slowly – Increase the amount gradually over several weeks to reduce side effects.
- Limit to 1-2 servings per day – Don’t exceed 4 ounces (120 mL) juice or 300 mg powder per day.
- Try both ways – Experiment with taking wheatgrass on an empty stomach and with food to see what works best for you.
- Watch for reactions – Be alert to nausea, hypoglycemia symptoms, or other issues, especially when taking wheatgrass on an empty stomach.
When starting out, be cautious with wheatgrass, especially on an empty stomach. Pay attention to your body’s responses.
Who should not take wheatgrass on an empty stomach?
The following groups of people should use extra caution or avoid taking wheatgrass on an empty stomach:
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women – Due to lack of safety research.
- Children – Wheatgrass is not recommended for children.
- Those with blood disorders – Wheatgrass may affect blood coagulation.
- People undergoing chemotherapy – Wheatgrass may interact with chemotherapy drugs.
- Those taking medications – Discuss with your doctor for potential interactions.
- Those with wheat allergies or celiac disease – Wheatgrass contains gluten.
- People with diabetes or blood sugar issues – For risk of hypoglycemia.
For these groups, it’s safest to start wheatgrass with food or consult a healthcare professional first.
What the research says
There is limited research specifically on taking wheatgrass on an empty stomach. But here are some key findings from the available studies:
- One small study of 8 healthy people found wheatgrass juice taken on an empty stomach was absorbed faster than when taken with a meal. However, total absorption was similar.
- Multiple studies show wheatgrass and chlorophyll from other sources can lower blood sugar levels. This could potentially cause hypoglycemia if taken before meals.
- Studies found wheatgrass is generally well tolerated up to 30 mL juice for up to 8 weeks. Mild nausea and constipation are the most common side effects.
Overall, current research is limited but does suggest some potential benefits as well as precautions for taking wheatgrass on an empty stomach.
Suggestions for taking wheatgrass on an empty stomach
Here are some tips if you want to try taking wheatgrass before eating:
- Start with very small doses like 1 ounce of juice or 50mg powder to assess tolerance.
- Be cautious if you have blood sugar issues. Monitor for signs of hypoglycemia.
- Wait 30-45 minutes after taking wheatgrass before eating to maximize absorption.
- Stick to 1 serving per day on an empty stomach at first.
- Make sure you feel energized after taking wheatgrass. Feeling tired or nauseous may be a sign to stop.
Pay attention to how your body responds. And consider trying wheatgrass both on an empty stomach and with food to compare.
Best times to take wheatgrass on an empty stomach
For many people, first thing in the morning and before a workout are the best times to take wheatgrass on an empty stomach.
Taking wheatgrass first thing when you wake up allows it to be fully absorbed before eating breakfast. Some find it gives them more sustained energy than coffee or tea in the morning. But be cautious if taking any medications or supplements.
Some athletes and gym-goers take wheatgrass powder or shots before a workout. Many report feeling more energized and able to work out longer. But be sure to eat a balanced meal shortly after exercising.
Always start slow and pay attention to your body’s signals when taking wheatgrass at any time of day on an empty stomach.
Recipes for taking wheatgrass on an empty stomach
Here are two simple recipes to get your daily wheatgrass in first thing:
Blend wheatgrass powder or juice with water and lemon juice for a quick, empty stomach smoothie. The lemon helps cut the bitter taste.
|Wheatgrass juice or powder||1-2 ounces juice or 50-100mg powder|
|Lemon juice||1 tablespoon|
Orange Wheatgrass Shot
This simple shot combines wheatgrass and orange juice. The citrus flavor helps balance out the grassy taste.
|Wheatgrass juice||1-2 ounces|
|Orange juice||2-4 ounces|
The bottom line
Current evidence for taking wheatgrass on an empty stomach is limited. But some people do report benefits like increased energy, nutrient absorption, and reduced food sensitivity reactions.
However, wheatgrass may lower blood sugar, so caution is advised for people with diabetes or related issues. And as with any supplement, watch carefully for any stomach upset, nausea, or other side effects.
The best approach may be to experiment mindfully with wheatgrass at different times and with food vs. on an empty stomach. Pay close attention to your body’s responses to find what works best for you.
When used properly, wheatgrass can be a health-promoting addition to the diet. But always start slowly and stick to moderate servings to experience wheatgrass benefits safely.