Myelodysplastic syndrome. Wheatgrass acts as iron chelator

The role of iron chelation activity of wheat grass juice in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome.

Mukhopadhyay. S.,  Basak. J., Kar. M.,  Mandal. S.,  Mukhopadhyay. A. 2009. J. Clin. Oncology 2009:7012

Background: Myelodysplastic syndrome describes any number of conditions in which the bone marrow does not produce enough blood cells. In cases where red blood cell number drops too low, patients require blood transfusion to add additional red blood cells. The blood that is transfused carries iron and, when numerous transfusions are given, the patient may have harmful and excessive levels of iron in the body. Medications that bind to and remove metals, such as iron, are called chelators. Sometimes chelators are prescribed to counter the toxic effects of too much iron. Lastly, ferritin is a protein that stores iron—the level of ferritin correlates with the level of iron in the body.

Clinical Trial: Physicians collected a cohort of 20 patients with severe myelodysplastic syndrome who required repeated blood transfusions. They administered 30 mL of fresh wheatgrass juice made from 5-7 day old leaves daily for 6 months. The wheatgrass juice had two intriguing properties. The first was that it had the ability to chelate or bind to iron. Also, mean serum ferritin levels, (an indicator of the amount of iron in the blood), fell from 2,250 to 950 and the mean interval between transfusion increased. This effect was comparable to a medically prescribed iron chelator, desferrioxamine, suggesting that the juice was able to clear iron from the body.

Conclusion: Wheatgrass juice dose-dependently chelates iron on a par with prescription chelators. The juice also apparently reduced the iron burden of patients who receive repeated blood transfusions. The authors concluded that “wheatgrass juice is an effective iron chelator, and its use in reducing serum ferritin should be encouraged in myelodysplastic syndrome and other diseases where repeated blood transfusion is required.”