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Is There Gluten in Wheatgrass?

By Adam Cloe Ph.D./M.D.

Gluten is a protein found in several grains, including wheat. Although gluten is safe for many people to consume, others have health problems that force them to avoid gluten. People with celiac disease who eat gluten can damage their intestines and develop abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting. Another form of gluten intolerance is called gluten sensitivity, in which eating gluten doesn't cause any tissue damage but can cause abdominal pain, bloating, headache and other symptoms. Although wheatgrass is normally gluten-free, there is the possibility that it could be contaminated with gluten during the harvesting process.

What's in Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass, also known as cereal grass, consists of a collection of grains -- including wheat -- in various stages of sprouting. These sprouts are often consumed due to their high content of vitamins and minerals. Wheatgrass is made out of the stem and grass leaves, and since gluten is found only in the kernel of the seed, wheatgrass is normally gluten-free. If any of the seed is accidentally included in the product, however, it can become contaminated with gluten. Harvesting the wheatgrass before the seed has had time to form can help prevent gluten contamination, so many forms of wheatgrass and barley grass are labeled as gluten-free.

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