Do Wheatgrass, Barley Grass, Rice, or Potatoes Contain Wheat Gluten?

Is There Wheat Gluten In Your Wheatgrass, Barley Grass, Rye Grass, Rice or Potatoes?

There are certain wheat gluten lectins within wheat known as Wheat Germ Agglutinins (WGA) (a type of wheat gluten) which have the potential to cause those people with Celiac’s disease or Gluten Reactivity a great harm if they were to consume it. That being said, there are other foods that may cause the same reaction even though there are no wheat gluten WGA’s present in that food, this is known as “Cross-Reactivity”

If a person reacts to the wheat gluten lectin Wheat Germ Agglutinins (WGA) then they cannot consume products containing any of the young sprouted grains. This includes Wheatgrass (wheat grass), Barley Grass (barley sprouts) and/or Rye Grass (rye sprouts) to name the most common.

Wheat-grass Juice Is Good For You, There’s No Wheat Kernel So There’s No Wheat Gluten, Right?

Research has shown that actively growing regions of the wheat plant, that is the shoots, leaves and roots, contain the highest levels of the wheat gluten WGA. (Even after the plant has developed beyond the germination and sprouting stages, it retains almost 50% of the levels of lectin found in the dry seeds. Approximately one third of this WGA is in the roots and two thirds is in the shoot, for at least 34 days!)[i]wheat-gluten-image

About 1 microgram of WGA is contained within each grain of the wheat berry. That seems hardly enough to do any harm to a full-grown person, however, to give this a reference, it only takes 500 micrograms (about half a grain of sand) of Ricin (a lectin extracted from Castor Bean casings) to kill a human! [i]

Considering that the wheat gluten WGA is exceptionally small, at 36 kilodaltons, it passes through the cell membranes of the intestines at will. (The intestines will allow passage of molecules up to 1,000 kilodaltons in size.) And, although I don’t know the exact amount of WGA contained within sprouted wheat, I do know that just one tiny wheat kernel contains over 16.7 TRILLION individual molecules of WGA! Then, once you find out that 2/3 of the WGA lectins contained within wheat plants are located in the shoot of the plant you just might come to the conclusion that Sprouted Wheatgrass is poison to many people.

Does Rice Have Any Of This Crazy Wheat Gluten WGA In It? (It’s not wheat ya’ know…)

Hold on, I wouldn’t eat that rice cake just yet my friend, as there has been new research that isolated lectins within both the rice bran and white rice flour that reacted with WGA antibodies.[ii]  A second lectin was also isolated from white rice flour, which reacted with antibodies against soybean lectins.

Immature Barley Grass, Rye Grass and members of the Triticeae tribe of the grass family (Gramineae), of which rice is a member, all contain chitin-binding lectins similar to the Wheat Gluten Lectin WGA.[iii]

Doesn’t The Acid In My Stomach Burn Up Those Wheat Gluten Things, Making Them Harmless?

Cooking, sprouting, fermentation and digestion are the traditional ways in which man has dealt with the various anti-nutrients found within certain plants. However, the wheat gluten lectin WGA, along with other plant lectins, are particularly resistant to proteolytic degradation, meaning that the digestive juices within our stomachs, which has hydrochloric acid (HCl) as a main ingredient, do nothing to break down and digest these lectins. One reason WGA’s are such an exceptionally tough adversary is because they are held together by the same types of disulfide bonds that make vulcanized rubber and human hair so strong, flexible and durable!

I Can Eat French Fries, Right? No Wheat Gluten In Those Good Ol’ Potatoes, Right?

White Potato Lectin and Wheat Gluten Lectin share similarities: The Potato (Solanum tuberosum) Tuber Lectin is made up of 3 distinct domains. One of these cysteine rich  potato tuber lectin shows partial conservation of a repeated motif common to that found in Wheat Germ Agglutinin. The closest similarity between these two seems to be to the sequence of potato basic chitinase.[iv]

That is to say, one of the protective lectins found in the potato is almost exactly identical (they share identical chemical sequencing) to the wheat gluten WGA found in wheat. If a person who is reactive to WGA were to consume a potato derived food, the lectin within that potato would initiate activation of their immune system in response to what it sees as a foreign invader.

Get tested TODAY to determine what, if any, foods you may be consuming that are slowly killing you by causing your immune system to slowly, but surely, go haywire.


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[i] Mishkind M, Keegstra K, Palevitz BA. (1980) Distribution of wheat germ agglutinin in young wheat plants. Plant Physiol. Nov; 66(5): 950-5. PMID: 16661559

[ii] Kolberg J, Wedege E, Sollid L. (1987). Immunoblotting detection of lectins in gluten and white rice flour. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. Feb 13;142(3):717-23. PMID: 3827897

[iii] Mishkind ML, Palevitz BA, Raikhel NV, Keegstra K. (1983). Localization of wheat germ agglutinin–like lectins in various species of the gramineae. Science. Jun 17;220(4603):1290-2. PMID: 17769370

[iv] Allen AK1, Bolwell GP, Brown DS, Sidebottom C, Slabas AR. (1996). Potato lectin: a three-domain glycoprotein with novel hydroxyproline-containing sequences and sequence similarities to wheat-germ agglutinin. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. Nov;28(11):1285-91. PMID: 9022287