Long-term wheat germ intake beneficially affects plasma lipids and lipoproteins in hypercholesterolemic human subjects

J Nutr. 1992 Feb;122(2):317-26. doi: 10.1093/jn/122.2.317.


In previous short-term studies in rats and humans, the ingestion of raw wheat germ lowered plasma triglycerides and cholesterol. Thus, the present study was designed to investigate the possible long-term effects of wheat germ intake. Diet supplementation with raw wheat germ or partially defatted wheat germ was tested in two separate groups of 10 and 9 free-living human subjects, respectively. They all exhibited hypercholesterolemia (6.14-9.67 mmol/L cholesterol) and 11 had hypertriglyceridemia. None was diabetic. Fasting blood samples were taken at the beginning of the study, after 4 wk of 20 g/d wheat germ intake, after 14 additional weeks of 30 g/d wheat germ intake and after 12 wk without any supplementation. Dietary records were kept for seven and three consecutive days, before and during the wheat germ intake periods, respectively. Raw wheat germ intake significantly decreased plasma cholesterol (-8.7%) and tended to reduce VLDL cholesterol (-19.6%) after 4 wk. After 14 additional weeks, plasma cholesterol (-7.2%) and LDL cholesterol (-15.4%) remained lower and plasma triglycerides (-11.3%) tended to be lower. The apo B:apo A1 ratio significantly decreased after both periods. Partially defatted wheat germ transiently decreased plasma triglycerides and cholesterol after a 4-wk intake. The present data indicate that wheat germ reduces cholesterolemia in the long term and could play a beneficial role in the dietary management of type IIa and IIb hyperlipidemia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Apolipoproteins / blood
  • Cholesterol / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / diet therapy*
  • Lipoproteins / blood*
  • Lipoproteins / chemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Triglycerides / blood*
  • Triticum*


  • Apolipoproteins
  • Lipoproteins
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol