Wheatgrass shots have become a popular health trend in recent years. Proponents claim that wheatgrass provides a concentrated dose of nutrients that can boost energy, improve digestion, and help detoxify the body. But how often should you actually take a wheatgrass shot to reap these purported benefits? Let’s take a closer look at the recommended frequency.
What is Wheatgrass?
Wheatgrass refers to the young grass shoots of the common wheat plant, Triticum aestivum. It is harvested before maturation, when the grass is still green and has not yet developed grain.
Wheatgrass is considered a superfood due to its dense nutritional profile. Just one ounce (about 30ml) of wheatgrass juice contains:
- 20+ vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, C and E, calcium, iron, magnesium, and amino acids
- Chlorophyll, enzymes, and antioxidants
- Very few calories
The main bioactive compounds in wheatgrass that are thought to provide health benefits include:
- Chlorophyll: Wheatgrass contains up to 70% chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants that absorbs sunlight and facilitates photosynthesis. Chlorophyll is linked to improved immunity, reduced inflammation, and antioxidant effects.
- Amino acids: Wheatgrass contains amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. These include aspartic acid, glutamic acid, arginine, and others.
- Antioxidants: Including flavonoids and vitamins C and E which help neutralize harmful free radicals.
- Enzymes: Biochemical compounds that facilitate chemical reactions in the body. Wheatgrass contains amylase, lipase, protease, cytochrome oxidase, and other enzymes.
Some people grow and juice wheatgrass at home. But it’s more common to find bottled wheatgrass shots made from cold-pressed, organic wheatgrass at juice bars, health food stores, and smoothie shops.
Potential Benefits of Wheatgrass Shots
Many claims are made about the health effects of taking wheatgrass shots. But scientific evidence is still limited, as few high-quality studies have been done specifically on wheatgrass in humans. Here is an overview of some of the commonly touted benefits:
Provides Nutrients and Antioxidants
With its dense nutritional profile, wheatgrass can be a good source of many essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants like vitamins C and E. This includes hard-to-get nutrients like selenium, which supports thyroid function and metabolism.
May Aid Detoxification
The nutrients and phytochemicals in wheatgrass, including vitamins, minerals, and chlorophyll, may support the body’s natural detoxification processes. Some animal research suggests wheatgrass may help protect the liver from toxicity.
The nutrients in wheatgrass juice, including iron and chlorophyll, may help increase oxygenation and energy levels in the body. Many people report feeling energized after taking a wheatgrass shot.
With its vitamin and antioxidant content, wheatgrass may help strengthen the immune system and reduce oxidative stress that can weaken immunity. Early studies suggest wheatgrass may provide antimicrobial activity as well.
Enzymes like lipase, amylase, and protease help support digestion of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. The chlorophyll may also help decrease gas and promote regularity.
Chlorophyll and antioxidants in wheatgrass may help reduce inflammation. Some studies show wheatgrass has anti-inflammatory effects and the ability to reduce inflammatory markers.
Promotes Heart Health
Wheatgrass may help improve cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure due to its antioxidant activity. Some research shows wheatgrass improves hyperlipidemia and can help protect against oxidative damage related to cardiovascular disease.
That said, well-designed human clinical trials are still needed to determine the effectiveness of wheatgrass for these and other potential health benefits.
How Often Should You Take Wheatgrass Shots?
When it comes to frequency, there are no official guidelines for taking wheatgrass shots. Recommendations typically range from 1-3 ounces (30-90 ml) per day up to 2-6 times per week. Here are some general tips:
- Start with a small dose like 1 ounce (30 ml) to assess tolerance.
- Increase slowly to higher doses like 2-3 ounces (60-90 ml) per day to minimize chances of side effects.
- Take wheatgrass on an empty stomach and avoid food for 15-30 minutes after to maximize nutrient absorption.
- Take wheatgrass at least 3 hours apart from medications or supplements to prevent interactions.
- If taking daily, have at least 1-2 rest days per week to give the body a break.
- Listen to your body and reduce frequency if you experience any discomfort.
People with health conditions or on medication should speak with a healthcare professional before taking wheatgrass regularly.
For General Health Maintenance
|2-3 times per week||1-2 ounces (30-60 ml)|
For those who are relatively healthy without major health conditions, taking wheatgrass 2-3 times per week is reasonable for getting an antioxidant and nutrient boost.
When Seeking Specific Benefits
|Detoxification||3-5 times per week||2-3 ounces (60-90 ml)|
|Digestive health||1-2 times per day||1-2 ounces (30-60 ml)|
|Immunity boost||3-5 times per week||1-2 ounces (30-60 ml)|
|Inflammation reduction||3-5 times per week||2-3 ounces (60-90 ml)|
Some people take wheatgrass shots more frequently when looking to enhance detoxification, improve digestive health, boost immunity, or reduce inflammation. Just be sure to watch for side effects with increased dosing.
How Long Should You Take Wheatgrass Shots?
There’s no specific duration for taking wheatgrass. Effects seem to increase with longer term use. Some sources recommend taking wheatgrass shots for:
- 2-4 weeks if aiming for general health and wellness benefits
- 1-2 months if looking to improve specific health concerns like digestion, immunity, or inflammation
- Ongoing to maintain effects long-term
Be sure to cycle your intake by taking 1-2 days off per week. And take a break of 1-2 weeks after taking wheatgrass daily for 1-2 months before starting up again.
Pay attention to your body for any signs of intolerance, which would signal a need to reduce frequency or take a longer break from wheatgrass shots.
Potential Side Effects
When used appropriately, wheatgrass is generally considered safe for most people. However, some potential side effects can occur, especially with high or frequent doses. These may include:
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- Throat irritation
- Allergic reactions (rare)
Start slowly and do not exceed 3 ounces per day when first using wheatgrass to minimize risk of adverse effects. Kids and pregnant women should avoid wheatgrass due to lack of safety data.
And as with any supplement, consult your healthcare provider before adding wheatgrass if you have any underlying health conditions or take medications, as interactions may occur.
The Bottom Line
Adding 1-3 ounces of wheatgrass juice 2-6 times per week is generally considered safe and potentially beneficial for most healthy adults. It provides a quick shot of nutrients, antioxidants, and other compounds that may boost immunity, energy, and more.
Keep doses on the lower end around 1 ounce per day for maintenance and general health benefits. Slowly increase up to 2-3 ounces per day if aiming to enhance detoxification, digestion, immunity, or inflammation reduction.
Make sure to watch for side effects, take breaks from wheatgrass, and consult your doctor if you have health conditions or take medications. Overall, wheatgrass shots appear to be a relatively low-risk health food that may provide a variety of benefits when incorporated into a healthy lifestyle.
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