Study Shows Iron Chelating Properties Of Wheat Grass Juice (ASCO 2009)
Published: Jun 2, 2009 2:38 pm
Researchers from India presented a study examining the effects of wheat grass juice as an iron chelator in transfusion-dependent myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) patients on May 29 at the 2009 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting.
Patients with MDS or other transfusion-dependent diseases are at risk for toxic iron build-up in cells, and possible organ damage. Iron chelators bind to excess iron for removal from the body.
The study included 20 transfusion-dependent MDS patients between the ages of 42 of 72 years (median 55 years). The participants drank 30 mL of fresh wheat grass juice daily for six months. Blood ferritin levels were, on average, reduced from 2,250 to 950 ng/mL. Ferritin, an iron-storage protein that prevents iron from forming free radicals, corresponds to blood iron levels and ranges from 12 to 300 ng/mL in healthy adult males and 12 to 150 ng/mL in females.
In addition, blood transfusion intervals lengthened and performance status of patients increased from 60 to 80 percent.
This trial followed a study with 200 intermediate thalassemia, or major chronic anemia, patients in which 80 percent who drank wheat grass juice became transfusion-independent.
In a dose-dependent comparison with deferoxamine (Desferal), a standard iron chelator, soluble wheat grass extract, collected from five to seven day old leaves, showed more effective iron chelating ability. In addition, analysis by a separation technique showed the crude extract to be rich in oxalic and malic acid, which possibly function in the dietary absorption of iron from the intestine.
Researchers encourage the use of wheat grass juice for patients requiring repeated blood transfusions.
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