Plasma lipid lowering effects of wheat germ in hypercholesterolemic subjects

Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 1991 Apr;41(2):135-50. doi: 10.1007/BF02194082.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fiber / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / diet therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Triticum*


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol