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A–Z of nutritional supplements: dietary supplements, sports nutrition foods and ergogenic aids for health and performance: Part 43
  1. M K Ranchordas1,
  2. N A Burd2,
  3. R J Godfrey3,
  4. D S Senchina4,
  5. S J Stear5,
  6. L M Burke6,
  7. L M Castell7
  1. 1Department of Sport, Academy of Sport and Physical Activity, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK
  2. 2Department of Human Movement Sciences, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  3. 3Centre for Sports Medicine and Human Performance, Brunel University, London, UK
  4. 4Biology Department, Drake University, Des Moines,  Iowa, USA
  5. 5Performance Influencers Limited, London, UK
  6. 6Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, Australia
  7. 7Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to L M Castell, Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, Oxford OX2 6HG, UK; lindy.castell{at}

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Introductory remarks

Part 43 reviews three more noteworthy W's: wheat germ oil, whey protein and wolfberry. Wheat germ and the oil extracted from it, albeit by-products from flour milling, contain significant quantities of tocopherols. A succinct review follows on whey protein, a very popular dietary supplement, particularly with resistance-trained individuals wanting to gain lean muscle mass. The issue finishes with a close look at wolfberry, also known as goji berry, an important herbal component of traditional Chinese medicine, but also frequently found in sports supplements.

The next instalment of our A–Z series is dedicated to a review on nutritional supplements used in the sporting world for weight loss. This includes a special focus on the supplements marketed as having ‘thermogenic’ properties, which frequently contain a wide array of interesting herbs—a review not to be missed!

Wheat germ oil

MK Ranchordas SJ Stear

The wheat germ (Triticum vulgare, Gramineae), a by-product of the flour-milling industry, represents about 2.5–3.8% of the total seed weight. Wheat germ and the oil extracted from wheat germ contain significant quantities of bioactive compounds and, in particular, are known to be the richest plant origin source of tocopherols (vitamin E),1 with the antioxidant activity of tocopherols being well-documented. Wheat germ contains mainly α-tocopherols and β-tocopherols,1 alongside other bioactive compounds such as phytosterols, polycosanols (POC), carotenoids, particularly lutein and zeaxanthin, thiamine (vitamin B1) and riboflavin (vitamin B2).2 Wheat germ is also a source of α-linolenic-rich polyunsaturated fatty acids,3 and contains several minerals, principally potassium, magnesium, calcium, zinc and manganese.

Wheat germ contains about 10–15% lipids (oil), with oil extraction being primarily achieved by mechanical pressing or solvent extraction, which retrieves about 50% or >90% of the total lipids, respectively.2 Crude wheat …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.