Wheat germ was one of the original health foods. The "germ” is the most nutritious part of the wheat’ seed. Today fermented wheat germ extract (FWGE) is showing promise as a potential breakthrough for treating cancer patients.

The evidence: A number of cell, animal and human studies support the use and benefits of FWGE as an adjunct therapy, meaning one that is used as part of a broader treatment program.

  • Colorectal cancer. A study of 170 patients who had received conventional treatments for colorectal cancer found that those who also took 9 grams (g) of FWGE daily for six months had less risk of developing new cancers. The cancer spread among only 8% of the patients receiving FWGE, compared with 23% of those getting only conventional treatment.
  • Oral cancer. Researchers compared 22 patients with oral cancer who took FWGE with 21 patients not receiving the supplement. FWGE reduced the risk for cancer progression by 85%
  • Melanoma. For one year, FWGE was given to 22 patients with advanced (stage 3) melanoma, and their progress was compared with 24 similar patients not receiving FWGE. Patients taking FWGE were half as likely to die from melanoma during this time.
  • Chemotherapy-induced infections. Researchers studied 22 children and teenagers with different types of cancer. The Il children who received FWGE had significantly fewer infections and fevers while receiving chemotherapy.
  • Animal studies. Many studies suggest benefits from FWGE for leukemia as well as breast, ovarian, gastric and thyroid cancers. In one study, laboratory rats received both FWGE and vitamin C in the treatment of lung, skin and colon cancers. The combination prevented the cancer from spreading, but vitamin C alone did not. In another study, FWGE worked better alone than it did with vitamin C to treat kidney cancer.

How It Works

cells of glucose, prompting their death...and by enhancing immune cell activity. Wheat germ contains chemicals that seem to have anticancer properties, and fermentation increases their concentration.

Note: FWGE is very different from the regular wheat germ you can buy at health food stores. It comes in a powder and is sold in health food stores and on-line.

Good brands: Avemar(www.aremar-altern attuerberapy.com) and OncoMar (800-647-6100 www.xymogen.com.

My Advice

If you would like to begin taking FWGE, check with your physician about incorporating it into your treatment program. I recommend one packet a day, which equals 9 g. You can mix it into a glass of cold water and then drink it—or substitute a non-citrus juice, such as apple or cranberry (citrus can deactivate FWGE's active ingredient).

FWGE is not cheap-it costs about $160/ month-but I think the expense is worth it, given the early indications that it may improve cancer survival rates.

Good news: FWGE is generally safe, and any side effects, such as diarrhea and flatulence, occur only occasionally.

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