- With Mayo Clinic internist
Brent A. Bauer, M.D.read biographyclose window
Brent A. Bauer, M.D.Brent A. Bauer, M.D.
Brent Bauer, M.D., is board certified in internal medicine. He is a consultant in the Department of Internal Medicine and director of the Department of Internal Medicine's Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dr. Bauer, a native of Madison, Wis., is also a professor of medicine at Mayo Medical School and a graduate of Mayo Medical School.
He serves on the editorial board of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter and is medical editor for EmbodyHealth Newsletter. He has been on staff at Mayo Clinic since 1992, first practicing at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., before joining Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., in 1996.
Dr. Bauer's principal research focus is the scientific evaluation of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies that patients and consumers are using with increasing frequency. He has authored several book chapters and papers on this topic, and is the medical editor of the "Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine." Dr. Bauer also spearheaded collaboration between Mayo Clinic and Gaiam in the creation of a series of 10 DVDs (Mayo Clinic Wellness Solutions). These DVDs address common health problems (for example, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure) with integrative medicine approaches that empower people to take charge of their health. His work is at the forefront of the emerging field of integrative medicine which combines the best of conventional medicine with the best of evidence-based complementary therapies.
Dr. Bauer has served on the NIH-NCCAM study section and is currently collaborating on over 20 studies being conducted at Mayo Clinic evaluating CAM therapies ranging from acupuncture to valerian. He is also a member of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society; the American Federation for Medical Research; the North Central Cancer Treatment Group and other professional organizations.
Nutrition basics (31)
- Phenylalanine in diet soda: Is it harmful?
- Water softeners: How much sodium do they add?
- Diet soda: Is it bad for you?
- see all in Nutrition basics
Healthy diets (11)
- Canola oil: Does it contain toxins?
- Butter vs. margarine: Which is better for my heart?
- Detox diets: Do they work?
- see all in Healthy diets
Healthy cooking (7)
- When the heat is on, which oil should you use?
- Moldy cheese: Is it OK to eat?
- Food poisoning: How long can you safely keep leftovers?
- see all in Healthy cooking
Healthy menus and shopping strategies (8)
- White whole-wheat bread: Is it nutritious?
- Sodium nitrate in meat: Heart disease risk factor?
- Brominated vegetable oil: Why is BVO in my drink?
- see all in Healthy menus and shopping strategies
Nutritional supplements (18)
- What is wheatgrass — And why is it in my drink?
- Prenatal vitamins: OK for women who aren't pregnant?
- Too much vitamin C: Harmful?
- see all in Nutritional supplements
What is wheatgrass — And why is it in my drink?
What is wheatgrass, and should I be adding it to my smoothies for better health?
from Brent A. Bauer, M.D.
Wheatgrass is a nutrient-rich type of young grass in the wheat family that is sold in a variety of forms as a dietary supplement. Proponents say that wheatgrass has numerous health benefits, but there are no significant research studies to support wheatgrass health claims.
Wheatgrass does provide a concentrated amount of nutrients, including iron, calcium, magnesium, amino acids, chlorophyll, and vitamins A, C and E. Wheatgrass fans say that its rich nutrient content boosts immunity, kills harmful bacteria in your digestive system, and rids your body of waste. Some proponents tout wheatgrass for cancer, anemia, diabetes, constipation, infections, skin conditions, colon cleansing, ulcerative colitis and joint pain, among other health concerns. Wheatgrass may also be promoted as a good way to help meet your daily target for vegetable servings. However, there are few research studies about wheatgrass, so it's difficult to assess such health claims.
Wheatgrass is generally considered safe. It may cause nausea, headaches, hives or swelling of your throat. Wheatgrass is usually grown in soil or water and consumed raw, which means it could be contaminated with bacteria or mold. If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, don't use wheatgrass. If you have a wheat or grass allergy, celiac disease or gluten intolerance, check with your doctor before using wheatgrass. Wheatgrass can have a strong grassy taste, making it difficult to tolerate.
Wheatgrass is available in many forms, including tablets, capsules, liquid extracts and tinctures. Wheatgrass is often used for juicing or added to smoothies or tea. You can even buy wheatgrass seeds or kits to grow your own wheatgrass at home.
Wheatgrass isn't a miracle cure and shouldn't replace either your regular medical care or a healthy diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. But used sensibly and in moderation, wheatgrass may add interest to your diet.Next question
Prenatal vitamins: OK for women who aren't pregnant?
- Wheatgrass. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Aug. 19, 2010.
- Wheatgrass. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffects/ComplementaryandAlternativeMedicine/DietandNutrition/wheatgrass. Accessed Aug. 19, 2010.
- Bar-Sela G, et al. Wheat grass juice may improve hematological toxicity related to chemotherapy in breast cancer patients: A pilot study. Nutrition and Cancer. 2007;58:43.
- Bauer BA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. Rochester, Minn. Aug. 30, 2010.
- Nelson JK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. Rochester, Minn. Sept. 1, 2010.