Published On: Wed, Feb 26th, 2014

Health wonders of wheat germ oil

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(By Pharm. Ben Chukwudile)

You may already be familiar with wheat as it is the major ingredient in wheat flour, wheat bread and other wheat-based foods. But there is certainly more to the wheat grain than you already know.

The wheat grain consists of three parts: the husk, the germ and the endosperm. Wheat germ oil is extracted from the germ of the wheat kernel, which makes up only 2.5 per cent of the weight of the kernel. Wheat germ oil is particularly high in octacosanol – a 28-carbon long-chain saturated primary alcohol found in a number of different vegetable waxes.

Octacosanol has been studied as an exerciseand physical performance-enhancing agent. Very long chain fatty alcohols obtained from plant waxes and beeswax have been reported to lower plasma cholesterol in humans.

Wheat germ oil is also very high in vitamin E (255mg/100g), and has the highest content of Vitamin E of any food that has not undergone prior preparation or vitamin fortification.

Although the germ of the wheat forms only 3 per cent of the weight of the grain, the benefits of wheat germ stem from the fact that it contains almost 25 per cent of the total proteins, vitamins and minerals of the wheat grain. It is a very sensitive kind of oil that tends to degrade if not stored with care. It should be kept away from high temperatures because if exposed to extreme temperatures, it may turn rancid. However, if kept properly, the shelf life of wheat germ oil can be extended up to a few months.

Wheat germ oil has a high content of vitamins A and D. It is also rich in protein and lecithin. As cooking oil, wheat germ oil is strongly flavoured, expensive and easily perishable.

Good Source of Vitamin E

Vitamin Eprotects the body against free radicals and is an important weapon in the fight against premature aging, cancer and heart disease. The vitamin E in wheat germ oil works with the minerals selenium and zinc for powerful antioxidant protection.

The vitamin E in wheat germ oil is effective as a topical agent as well. The high antioxidant content can facilitate regeneration and healing in the skin, while protecting against future damage. Many people have noticed remarkable improvement by applying wheat germ oil to treat dry skin, sun spots, wrinkles, scars, stretch marks, psoriasis and eczema.

Although its vitamin E content may be its most outstanding benefit, wheat germ oil also contains other valuable nutrients.

Component g/100g
Linoleic acid (Omega-6) 55
Palmitic acid 16
Oleic acid 14
Linolenic acid (Omega-3) 7


Essential Fatty Acids

The essential fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid, in wheat germ oil fights inflammation, while protecting the cardiovascular and immune systems. Wheat germ oil contains other highly beneficial essential fatty acids, such as stearic acid, which has been shown to produce positive effects on lipid profiles;and oleic acid, which protects the heart.


This phospholipid is vital for heart health, brain function and liver health.

Benefits of Wheat Germ Oil

There are many benefits of wheat germ oil. It is very useful for the skin.It fights ageing of the skin and promotes skin health by improving blood circulation. It is very popular for external application due to its beneficial effects on the skin. Hence, it is increasingly finding place in the manufacture of skin care products. The various nutrients present in it improve the immune and nervous systems.

Additional Health Benefits

If you are still wondering what wheat germ oil is good for, consider the following:

  • Wheat has been called the staff of life, and the oil from the germ of the wheat has long been used by people with a variety of health concerns.
  • The Doctor’s Research TM states, “Wheat germ oil protects and nurtures the skin;it is a laxative and reduces lipids. It is a valuable dietetic because of the high level of polyunsaturated acids and vitamin E. Chinese medicine uses it for night sweats, whereas “flatulence, constipation, itching, and menorrhagia are indications for use in Indian medicine.”
  • Recent research confirms that wheat germ oil can help reduce oxidative stress. Wheat germ oil is one of the most concentrated sources of vitamin E.

  How to Use

There are many ways to use wheat germ oil externally. For skin care, you can apply this oil to remedy dry skin. Wheat germ oil, being excellent for dry skin, can be applied twice, daily. It can be applied after bath in the morning and once more in the night before sleeping. What‘s more, it can also be taken orally as a supplement. Wheat germ oil can also be taken in capsules especially if you find swallowing the oil disagreeable.


  • Keep in mind that wheat germ oil is not meant to replace other healthy fats in your diet. Rather,it should be thought of as a beneficial supplement.
  • It is susceptible to rancidity; but if kept refrigerated in an opaque, airtight container, it will last several months. Using wheat germ oil for cooking is not recommended.

In summary, wheat germ oil has antioxidant abilities as well as a variety of substances shown to be beneficial to health. Therefore wheat germ oil or the supplement is the product to consider when looking for the health benefits these substances provide.


  1. Lee R Wheat Germ Oil Perles. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, Milwaukee, circa 1950
  2. Irmiak S, Dunford NT. Policosanol contents and compositions of wheat varieties. J Agric Food Chem. 2005;53(14):5583-6
  3. Oil, wheat germ. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 19, 2006
  4. Traber MG. Vitamin E. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 10th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Balt. 2006:396-411
  5. Traber MG. Vitamin E. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th ed. Williams & Wilkins, 1999:347-362
  6. Wheat Germ Oil (Octac osanol)” (http ://www . html).
  7. Ola. A. Megahad and Omayma S. El Kinawy (2002). “Studies on the extraction of wheat germ oil by commercial hexane” ( Grasas y Aceites 53 (4): 414—418. Retrieved 2010-05-18.
  8. Wheat Germ Oil” ( Nutros. Retrieved 2010-05-18. . 8. A “Is Wheat Germ Oil Good for Scar Diminishing?” ( OilyOily. Retrieved 22 August 2013.

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Health wonders of wheat germ oil