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What are the benefits of a wheatgrass shot?

Wheatgrass shots have become an increasingly popular health food in recent years. The concentrated liquid created from juicing wheatgrass provides a quick and nutrient-dense way to get a boost of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. But what are the specific benefits of taking a wheatgrass shot, and what does the research say about its effects? Let’s take a closer look.

Introduction to Wheatgrass and Wheatgrass Shots

Wheatgrass refers to the young grass shoots of the common wheat plant, Triticum aestivum. It contains a high concentration of nutrients and phytochemicals that provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting properties. Wheatgrass is often juiced into shots for maximum nutrient absorption.

To make wheatgrass juice, the grass shoots are harvested before they reach full maturity, usually between 7-11 days after sprouting. The shoots are run through a juicer to extract the nutrient-dense green juice. An average shot contains around 1-2 ounces of juice.

Wheatgrass shots provide a simple way to get a concentrated dose of many beneficial nutrients and plant compounds. They have grown in popularity due to their reputation as an energizing, healing tonic. Let’s analyze the evidence behind some of the major health benefits attributed to wheatgrass.

Nutritional Profile of Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass is low in calories but high in vitamins, minerals, and bioactive plant compounds. Below is an overview of the main nutrients found in 1 ounce (30 ml) of wheatgrass juice:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 8
Protein 0.3 grams
Vitamin C 2.9 mg (5% DV)
Vitamin A 18 mcg (2% DV)
Vitamin E 0.6 mg (3% DV)
Vitamin K 79.9 mcg (100% DV)
Thiamine 0.1 mg (4% DV)
Riboflavin 0.1 mg (8% DV)
Niacin 0.2 mg (1% DV)
Vitamin B6 0.1 mg (4% DV)
Folate 3.8 mcg (1% DV)
Pantothenic Acid 0.1 mg (1% DV)
Calcium 7 mg (1% DV)
Iron 0.2 mg (1% DV)
Magnesium 6 mg (1% DV)
Phosphorus 8 mg (1% DV)
Potassium 42 mg (1% DV)
Sodium 2 mg (0% DV)

DV = Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

As you can see, wheatgrass is especially high in vitamins A, C, E, K and B vitamins. It also contains minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium and amino acids. Additionally, wheatgrass provides bioactive substances like chlorophyll, flavonoids, and carotenoids that may provide health benefits.

Antioxidant Effects

Antioxidants help counteract oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals, which are compounds that can damage cells. Wheatgrass contains several antioxidants, including:

  • Vitamins C and E
  • Flavonoids
  • Carotenoids
  • Chlorophyll

These antioxidants help scavenge harmful oxidative compounds. Test-tube and animal studies show wheatgrass may reduce oxidative stress and increase levels of antioxidant enzymes like glutathione and superoxide dismutase (1, 2).

One small study gave wheatgrass juice to 20 people with impaired bone marrow function. Taking 100 ml (3.4 ounces) daily for 6 months reduced oxidative stress by significantly decreasing malondialdehyde, a marker of damage to lipids (fat molecules) (3).

More human research is needed, but the antioxidant content of wheatgrass shows promise in protecting cells from harmful oxidation.

May Aid Immunity

Wheatgrass may help strengthen and support immunity in a few different ways.

First, wheatgrass provides general nutritional support since it contains various vitamins, minerals and antioxidants vital for the optimal function of your immune system. It also specifically contains vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and zinc, all nutrients required for proper immune responses (4).

Second, test-tube research indicates that certain compounds in wheatgrass like chlorophyll and flavonoids may directly enhance immunity by stimulating immune cells (5).

Lastly, studies indicate that many different plant compounds found in wheatgrass have antibacterial and antimicrobial effects, which may indirectly support immunity by fighting harmful pathogens (6).

Despite this promising research, human studies are needed to confirm wheatgrass’ direct effects on immunity.

May Lower Cholesterol

A few studies indicate wheatgrass may lower cholesterol levels, especially “bad” LDL cholesterol, to support heart health.

One study gave wheatgrass tablets equivalent to 3.5 grams of juice powder daily to 51 people with high cholesterol over 10 weeks. Wheatgrass led to decreases in total cholesterol by 7% and LDL cholesterol by nearly 15% (7).

Another small study had 40 patients drink 4 ounces (120 ml) of wheatgrass juice for 2 weeks. They experienced reductions in total cholesterol by 13.3% and LDL cholesterol by 6.5% (8).

The cholesterol-lowering effects of wheatgrass are likely due to its high content of fiber, vitamins, minerals and plant sterols.

May Aid Blood Sugar Control

Human and test-tube studies demonstrate that wheatgrass may improve blood sugar control, though more research is needed.

In one small study, 20 people with diabetes took either 100 ml wheatgrass juice or 2,000 mg powder daily for 3 months. Both groups experienced significant decreases in blood sugar levels (9).

Additionally, test-tube studies document that wheatgrass extracts may boost insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar in diabetic rats (10, 11).

Researchers believe wheatgrass supplements may trigger these effects by increasing antioxidant activity, reducing oxidative stress and promoting the metabolism or excretion of excess glucose (12).

May Promote Weight Loss

Very few studies have examined the effects of wheatgrass on weight. However, it provides multiple nutrients that have been linked to aiding weight loss.

For instance, thylakoids are tiny compartments found in plants that have been associated with increased satiety and weight loss. Wheatgrass contains a small amount of thylakoids.

One study gave a mixture with thylakoids and wheatgrass extract to 38 overweight women daily for 2 months. They lost 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg) more than the placebo group and felt significantly less hungry (13).

Also, wheatgrass is very low in calories yet high in fiber, which may help decrease calorie intake. Plus, some research shows it may encourage glucose metabolism and liver function, possibly supporting metabolism (14, 15).

Despite these possible benefits, human studies on wheatgrass alone are needed to determine its real effects on weight.

May Improve Digestion

Poor digestion can cause major disruptions to your health. Though research is limited, some studies demonstrate that wheatgrass may help enhance digestive function.

It contains enzymes like proteases and lipases that help the body break down and absorb different types of nutrients. Enzymes also stimulate the gastrointestinal tract and speed the elimination of toxins.

What’s more, the chlorophyll in wheatgrass may help reduce oxidative stress and cleanse the liver. Since the liver helps process nutrients, this could indirectly improve nutrient absorption and metabolism (16).

One study gave 23 people with ulcerative colitis — an inflammatory bowel condition — 100 ml wheatgrass juice for one month. Nearly half of them improved significantly (17).

Additionally, another small study in 45 elderly people found that those consuming 60 ml of wheatgrass juice daily had fewer symptoms of constipation (18).

May Alleviate Inflammation

Chronic inflammation plays a central role in many modern diseases and can negatively impact your health. Wheatgrass may help reduce inflammation levels in several ways.

Test-tube studies document that wheatgrass extracts high in chlorophyll inhibit the activity of a molecule called nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB). NF-kB stimulates inflammatory responses by triggering the release of pro-inflammatory compounds like cytokine and chemokine (19).

Additionally, the antioxidants in wheatgrass scavenge free radicals that can cause inflammation. One study gave wheatgrass tablets to 25 patients with active distal ulcerative colitis for 4 weeks. Nearly half of them saw reduced symptoms and improved antioxidant and inflammation markers (20).

That said, most research is limited to test-tube studies. More human studies are needed before strong conclusions can be made.

Easy to Add to Your Routine

Wheatgrass is widely available as a powder, liquid juice, or tablet. It’s fairly simple to work into your routine.

Start with a small dose, like 1 ounce (30 ml) of juice, and slowly work your way up. This allows your body to adjust and minimizes any adverse effects.

Most people enjoy wheatgrass juice mixed into fruit smoothies or juices. Tablets and powder are great alternatives if you don’t have a juicer. Many people experience nausea or headaches if they drink it on an empty stomach, so have it with or after a meal.

Additionally, pair wheatgrass with foods high in vitamin C to maximize absorption of some nutrients. Try pairing it with oranges, lemons, tomatoes or bell peppers.

Possible Side Effects and Precautions

When consumed in normal food amounts, wheatgrass is quite safe. However, some people experience side effects in response to compounds in wheatgrass.

Begin slowly to minimize risk of nausea, headaches and diarrhea. You may also want to start taking wheatgrass before meals so it’s diluted down.

Some additional precautions include:

  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid wheatgrass due to lack of safety research.
  • People with an immunocompromised state or chronic illness should talk to a doctor before taking wheatgrass.
  • Children should avoid wheatgrass shots because their bodies struggle to break down excess nutrients.
  • Avoid wheatgrass if you have a wheat allergy or grass pollen sensitivity.

Lastly, only purchase high-quality wheatgrass and juice it yourself to minimize contamination.


Wheatgrass shots provide a simple way to get a nutrient and antioxidant-packed dose of greens. They have been associated with many health benefits, though human research is limited.

Wheatgrass may provide antioxidant effects, support immunity, help lower cholesterol, aid blood sugar control and promote weight loss. It may also have anti-inflammatory effects and help with digestion.

Aim to start small, about 1 ounce (30 ml) per day, and pair it with vitamin C foods to increase nutrient absorption. Wheatgrass is generally safe, but some people may experience nausea, headaches or diarrhea.

At the end of the day, wheatgrass provides an easy way to increase your vegetable intake and get a wide array of important nutrients — making it a simple addition to any health regimen.