wheat germ versus cholesterol

Doug Skrecky (oberon@vcn.bc.ca)
Wed, 23 Dec 1998 15:30:55 -0800 (PST)

Citations: 1-2


Cara L. Borel P. Armand M. Senft M. Lafont H. Portugal H. Pauli AM. Boulze D. Lacombe C. Lairon D.
Unite 130-INSERM (Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale), Marseille, France.
Plasma lipid lowering effects of wheat germ in hypercholesterolemic subjects.
Plant Foods for Human Nutrition. 41(2):135-50, 1991 Apr. Abstract
The present study was performed to investigate the possible effects of wheat germ supplementation on lipid
metabolism in humans. Ten free-living adult subjects participated in the study. None was obese or diabetic. They all presented an hypercholesterolemia (from 6.58 to 9.50 mM), associated in 6 over 10 cases to an hypertriglyceridemia (from 1.70 to 5.00 mM). The subjects were studied in three consecutive periods, during which they first were on their usual diet (first week), they then ingested a daily supplement of 30 g wheat germ (4 weeks) and then they returned to their usual basal diet (4 weeks follow-up). Dietary records were obtained for 7 and 3 consecutive days before and during wheat germ supplementation, respectively. Fasting blood samples were taken at the end of each period. After 4 weeks of wheat germ intake, glycemia did not change while total plasma cholesterol significantly decreased (paired Student's t test, p less than or equal to 0.05) from 7.80 to 7.15 mM. LDL and HDL cholesterol values did not show marked changes, but VLDL cholesterol significantly dropped by 40.6%. Thus, the plasma/HDL total cholesterol ratio was significantly lower. Apoprotein B and A1 decreased. In the hypertriglyceridemic subjects, this was accompanied by a significant reduction of plasma triglycerides (1.64 vs. 2.68 mM) and a marked drop of VLDL triglycerides (-51%). Taken as a whole, the present results obtained in humans are very close to those previously obtained in the rat and point out that wheat germ may play a beneficial role in the dietary management of hyperlipidemia.


Lairon D. Lacombe C. Borel P. Corraze G. Nibbelink M. Chautan M. Chanussot F. Lafont H.
Beneficial effect of wheat germ on
circulating lipoproteins and tissue lipids in rats fed a high fat, cholesterol-containing diet.
Journal of Nutrition. 117(5):838-45, 1987 May. Abstract
Adult male rats were fed for 7 wk either a low fat diet (3% fat) or a high fat-cholesterol diet (20% fat, 0.5%
cholesterol) containing 7% wheat
germ or not. Body weights and food intakes were unchanged by adding wheat germ to the control low fat or high fat diets. Adding wheat germ to the high fat-cholesterol diet significantly increased high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and the HDL-serum cholesterol ratio and lowered the very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) triglycerides. Thus the lipoprotein pattern was comparable to that obtained with the low fat diet, but the VLDL lipid composition remained altered. At the same time, triglyceride and cholesterol accumulation in the liver and the triglyceride content in skin were significantly decreased. When wheat germ was added to the low fat diet,
cholesterol and triglycerides were not significantly modified. No adaptative change in lipase and colipase contents was observed in the pancreas of rats fed the wheat
germ-supplemented diets, whereas the high fat diet increased these values. The results show a beneficial effect of wheat germ added to a high fat-cholesterol diet on the lipid status of rats; the implicated mechanisms are yet to be elucidated.