Wheat Germ Oil and Octacosanol

Wheat germ oil is very high in vitamin E and is often used as a source of vitamin E for internal use or for external application to burns, sores, and other skin problems. The antioxidant properties of vitamin E make wheat germ oil more stable to oxidation or rancidity than many other oils.


Octacosanol is another active ingredient of wheat germ oil. Many users and manufacturers of octacosanol capsules claim that it enhances endurance, reaction time, and general vitality, yet these effects may take several weeks to notice. Though scientific research has not completely verified all of the claims, octacosanol appears to improve oxygen utilization, and thereby performance, particularly at higher altitudes or when under stress. It also has a mild cholesterol-lowering effect.


Wheat germ itself is a good source of protein, B vitamins, vitamin E, and many minerals, particularly iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, zinc, phosphorus, and potassium. Nutritionally, it is more balanced overall than its isolated oil, which is almost exclusively vitamin E plus other oils and is more caloric. We do, however, need some oils for tissue health and to obtain natural vitamin E, so wheat germ oil supplements can be a good addition to a low-fat or low-vitamin-E diet.

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Elson M. Haas MD Written by Elson M. Haas MD

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