Wheat Germ and Gluten

Does Wheat Germ Contain Gluten?

Before I answer this question, let me explain what gluten actually is and what it does:

What is Gluten?

Gluten from the Latin name gluten or “glue” is made up of 2 proteins, glutenin and gliadin found primarily in the endosperm – the inside of the wheat kernel and other related grains such as rye and barley.

As the Latin translation indicates, it has a white, sticky, glue-like texture that provides foods such as dough its elasticity, helping it to rise and keep its shape. All breads, other than those specifically ‘gluten free’ contain gluten.

Its useful, binding properties mean gluten is found in a wide number of foods and recipes and is often used as a protein additive to foods low in protein.

Unfortunately a large proportion (knowingly or not) have a gluten intolerance in varying degrees, and consuming just a small amount can lead to a number of health related issues.

For those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, the protein found in gluten, attacks the small intestine lining and causes damage to the tiny villi, which absorb nutrients. As a result the body is unable to absorb most of the vitamins and minerals it needs to remain healthy, leading to autoimmune disorders.

The Center for Celiac Disease Research at the University of Maryland states that as many as 1 in 150 people has a sensitivity to gluten and is one of the most common, life-long disorders in western countries.

If you have intestinal related problems that have been ongoing for a prolonged period of time, you should ask your doctor to test you for gluten intolerance.

People with celiac disease potentially suffer from a long list of symptoms, including diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating and other symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which is now being recognized by some researchers as being caused by celiac disease.

Once diagnosed and gluten is totally eliminated from the diet, the intestines and villi will make a full recovery. A this present time, this is the only treatment for gluten intolerance and will need to be avoided for the rest of your life.

So Does Wheat Germ Contain Gluten?

The short answer is wheat germ is not gluten-free. If you have celiac disease, an intolerance to gluten or any condition where gluten needs to be avoided, then you should avoid eating wheat germ.

Some people with a gluten intolerance can tolerate a small amount of gluten and wheat germ would probably be fine for most, as the amounts are particularly small. But the bottom line is, that it does contain gluten, so be warned.

Although wheat germ does contain gluten, it is insignificant to the point that you wouldn’t consider it for baking, i.e there’s not enough to use it as an ingredient for a recipe.

If you have any questions or comments regarding wheat germ and gluten, please drop them below.


10 Responses to “Wheat Germ and Gluten”

  1. Hattie Dalton says:

    Hello. I would like to know if I have a gluten intolerance if I can use a body moisturiser or any cosmetic products (shampoo etc) that contains wheat germ oil. I know our body absorbs through the skin so am I putting myself at risk rubbing it in as much (or if at all) as eating it?
    Thank you so much for your help.
    Best wishes

  2. Peter says:

    Hi Hattie,

    You cannot absorb gluten contaminated products through the skin, let alone the tiny amounts in wheat germ. It has to be consumed. So don’t worry about rubbing in wheat germ oil unless it comes into contact with your mouth. Even then you would have to be very unlikely to experience any effects.

  3. Matthew says:

    Hi there!
    I have wheat germ daily bit I don’t reaslly suffer from allergens but my doubt is the absorption of multivitamins and antioxidants.
    Would that wheat germ intake block these in any way or aggravate the intestine absorption?

  4. Peter says:

    Mathew, wheat germ would not interfere or prevent absorbtion of vitamins, minerals or antioxidants. As I’ve mentioned if you have a severe wheat allergy or gluten intolerance, then I would avoid wheat germ.

  5. Teri says:

    Should you avoid wheat germ in body products? With gluten allergies

  6. Peter says:

    Hi Teri,

    Please see my reply to Hattie’s comment above – http://wheatgermbenefits.com/wheat-germ-and-gluten/comment-page-1/#comment-806

    You do not need to avoid body products that contain wheat germ.

  7. Maddy says:

    I have been gluten intolerant for a year and I am extremely sensitive. You say that you can not absorb the gluten threw the skin, but I hive out really bad all over any time that I have accidentally used body products that had wheat in them.

  8. Peter says:

    Hi Maddy,

    It sounds like you may have a reaction to the other ingredients in the products you use.

    Here’s what the Celiac Society says: “Gluten molecules are too large to be absorbed through the skin. If you’re having a reaction to a personal care product (for example, a moisturizer or sunscreen lotion) that contains gluten, you may be allergic to one or more of the other ingredients.”

    The International Dermal Institute also agrees with the Celiac Society and the many scientists that contend topical application is not an issue. Unless a product is used on the lips or in the mouth (think lip conditioners, lipstick, toothpaste or mouthwash), there is no need for concern.

    However, it is always up to the individual to make the best possible choice for skin health.

    Hope that helps regarding the issue of wheat germ and gluten absorbtion.


  9. Scott baker says:

    Wheat germ has gluten in it. How can a maker label the product “gluten free” then
    Say contains wheat germ on their website but not on the box or on the protein bar. It either has gluten or it does not.

    What is a sugar alcohols? Are there several different sugar alcohols?

    Thank you!

  10. Leslie Coy says:

    I am reading about Metatrol A substance made from wheat germ extract. Does wheat germ extract contain gluten?

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