Written by Alexander Kalisch, Markus Horneber and the CAM-Cancer Consortium.
Updated February 8, 2017

Fermented wheat germ extract

Abstract and key points

  • Fermented wheat germ extract (FWGE) is produced from wheat germs of the genus Triticum vulgaris.
  • The active ingredient in FWGE is not yet known.
  • It has been claimed that orally used FWGE offers beneficial effects for cancer patients during chemo- and/or radiotherapy.
  • The evidence from clinical trials to support claims of efficacy is weak.
  • The oral intake of FWGE seems to cause no harm.

Fermented wheat germ extract (FWGE) is industrially produced and in clinical use. The production of FWGE involves fermenting wheat germs of the genus Triticum vulgaris by adding baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). The medically active substances of FWGE are not yet known.

It has been proposed that 2,6-dimethoxy-p-benzoquinone and 2-methoxy benzoquinone found in wheat germ might act antiproliferative because of its high redox potential. FWGE is believed to increase efficacy of chemo- and radiotherapy, to reduce its side effects and to improve quality of life.

Although eight controlled clinical trials consistently reported positive results, the evidence for the claimed benefits is very weak, due to high risk of bias in trials published to this date. No placebo-controlled trials have been carried out.

There is no toxicity known by the intake of FWGE. Side effects are rare and mild.

Citation Alexander Kalisch, Markus Horneber, CAM-Cancer Consortium. Fermented wheat germ extract [online document]. http://ws.cam-cancer.org/The-Summaries/Dietary-approaches/Fermented-wheat-germ-extract. February 8, 2017.


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