Journal of the American College of Nutrition

Wheat germ supplementation of a low vitamin E diet in rats affords effective antioxidant protection in tissues.

PMID 18689553


Oxidative stress is implicated in the etiology of many diseases, but most of clinical trials failed to demonstrate beneficial effects of antioxidant supplementation. In the present experiment, we assessed the mean-term effect of wheat germ supplementation, as a dietary source of vitamin E, on antioxidant protection in rat. Feeding rats a 20% wheat germ diet significantly increased plasma and liver vitamin E levels, compared to the low vitamin E basal diet. Concurrently, wheat germ diet consumption strongly decreased the susceptibility of heart and liver lipids to oxidation, as well as the plasma. Wheat germ feeding did not change triglycerides (TG) nor total cholesterol concentrations in plasma or liver, resulting in higher vitamin E/TG ratio compared to controls. Similar results were found with a diet in which wheat germ oil provided the same amount of vitamin E. Wheat germ appears thus very effective to improve antioxidant defense status, especially in tissues, irrespective of modifications of lipids status.