Cancer patients often have low white blood cell counts, which could cause them to be at increased risk of infections. Wheatgrass juice may help!
Wheatgrass: This “Secret” Cancer Fighting Juice Helps Fight Infections In Chemo Patients
- The Problem: Cancer patients taking chemotherapy often have myelotoxicity, aka. low white blood cell and red blood cell counts. This leads to a low immune system and increased risk of infection (e.g. colds, flu)
- How to Prevent It: Cancer patients taking chemotherapy who drink 2 ounces of wheatgrass juice a day have higher white blood cell counts than patients who do not
- The Un-Ordinary: Wheatgrass juice is a green superfood drink that is consumed by many health-conscious people. What is un-ordinary about this cancer fighting juice is it could help breast cancer and colon cancer patients on chemotherapy. These patients appear to have less myelotoxicity when consuming this juice
Here at The Cancer Detox we consider wheatgrass part of our “trifecta,” or “Big 3” green superfoods. We strongly encourage our clients to consider adding them to their diet. Wheatgrass, chlorella, and spirulina are nutritious, with little to no side effects. They are have been shown to have cancer-fighting potential in laboratory and animal studies. The really good news is that new scientific evidence shows wheatgrass may also benefit patients taking chemotherapy drugs.
A HACK TO COUNTER THE TASTE
While I personally do NOT like the taste of wheatgrass juice (it tastes exactly like you would think grass would taste,) it does make me feel great after drinking it for a few days. And I discovered this hack: mix it in with some fresh-squeezed orange juice and ginger powder to mask the “grassy” taste. You can drink it like a shot of liquor…chuck it back quickly then chase it with a small amount of orange juice.
SCIENCE-BASED REASONS TO CONSIDER DRINKING WHEATGRASS JUICE
- These patients drank 2 ounces of wheatgrass juice a day while in this study
- While they didn’t all love the taste (some patients were like me and didn’t tolerate the taste well) a significant number of patients maintained normal white blood cell levels and avoided the need to stop their chemotherapy due to low cell counts
- These same patients avoided the need to be prescribed an additional medication that would increase their white blood cells
- White blood cells make up our body’s immune system and protect us from invading bacteria and viruses. Low white blood cells can lead to an increased risk of infection, such as the flu and colds.
Certain chemotherapy drugs are known to cause myelotoxicity, which is:
- A drop in the production of white blood cells (cells that help the body fight off infection)
- A drop in red blood cells (cells that carry oxygen to tissues)
- A drop in blood clotting cells (cells that stop bleeding)
This chemotherapy side effect is dangerous and possibly life-threatening for patients. If low white blood cell counts persist, doctors often prescribe an additional medication (e.g. filgrastim) to help raise the levels back to normal. Patients on filgrastim have to stop their chemotherapy to allow their white blood cells to increase. This extends the time, and agony, patients have to endure their chemotherapy treatments. Not to mention filgrastim medication has its own set of side effects.
Another study in colon cancer patients found that patients on chemotherapy who drank 2 ounces of wheatgrass juice every day for several months had higher levels of anti-inflammatory proteins (i.e. cytokines) and maintained a higher level of white blood cells compared to those patients who did not drink wheatgrass juice (2).
WHAT IS WHEATGRASS?
Wheatgrass juice comes from the sprouts of a plant known as Triticum aestivum. Wheatgrass contains vitamins (A, C, and E), minerals (iron, calcium, magnesium), bioflavonoids, and antioxidants. All the good stuff you would expect from a superfood.
Wheatgrass juice contains antioxidants known as phenolics and flavonoids which remove free radicals from the body. Lab studies show that wheatgrass juice seeks out free radicals (e.g. superoxide radicals), “removes” them from the body so that they do not damage the body’s DNA (3).
NOTE: It may be a challenge to find juice bars in your city that sells fresh wheatgrass juice. Consider wheatgrass tablets and powders. However, only the wheatgrass juice has been used in studies with cancer patients, so you may want to consider purchasing a juicer that can extract the juice from the wheatgrass.
CONTACT OUR CANCER COACH
If you are feeling scared after a recent cancer diagnosis and want to be empowered to support your health with cancer-fighting foods, then call our Atlanta-based Cancer Coach at 678-310-8101 today! Or schedule a complimentary call here. Each caller will receive:
- 3 health coaching tips on cancer-fighting smoothies, cancer-fighting vitamins, and cancer-fighting supplements
- A list of questions to ask your doctor that will improve patient-doctor communication and help you better understand your treatment options. Schedule your call here…
To Your Best Health!
Dee Grace, PhD
Hi! I am Dee Grace, PhD Scientist and Cancer Coach. I help cancer patients get better care from their doctors and support their health with cancer-fighting foods and self-care. Schedule a complimentary call with me and get our FREE guides.
- Bar-Sela G, et al. Wheatgrass juice may improve hematological toxicity related to chemotherapy in breast cancer patients: a pilot study. Nutr Cancer. 2007;58:43-48
- Avisar A, et al. Wheatgrass juice administration and immune measures during adjuvant chemotherapy in colon cancer patients: preliminary results. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2020;13:129.
- Sun T, Li J, Chen C. Effect of blending wheatgrass juice on enhancing phenolic compounds and antioxidant activities of traditional kombucha beverage. J Food Drug Anal. 2015;23:709.