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Is There Gluten in Wheatgrass?

author image Adam Cloe Ph.D./M.D.
Adam Cloe has been published in various scientific journals, including the "Journal of Biochemistry." He is currently a pathology resident at the University of Chicago. Cloe holds a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry from Boston University, a M.D. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in pathology from the University of Chicago.
Is There Gluten in Wheatgrass?
A close-up of wheatgrass. Photo Credit: bhofack2/iStock/Getty Images

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.

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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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