Barley Grass Powder Benefits

Written by: Pard Bharaj

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Time to read 11 min

Image of Pard, the Author

Author: Pard Bharaj

I am a dedicated researcher with nearly a decade of experience in investigating health best practices. 


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Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle, especially if you have existing health conditions.

Introduction: 


Barley grass, is derived from the young leaves of the barley plant (Hordeum vulgare). It is a nutrient-rich food that has been used for for millienia. Originating from ancient civilisations, barley has been cultivated for over 10,000 years, primarily in the Middle East. The young barley leaves, harvested before the plant matures, are known for their high concentration of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial compounds.


Barley grass powder has gained popularity due to its impressive nutritional profile and potential health benefits. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the benefits of barley grass powder, highlighting its nutritional content, health advantages, and practical uses as well as exploring relevant scientific studies (please see references and further reading at the end of the article).

Barley Grass Powder Nutritional Profile:


Vitamins and Minerals:  


Barley grass powder contains a wide array of essential vitamins and minerals that contribute significantly to good health. It is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K. Vitamin A is crucial for maintaining healthy vision, skin, and immune function. Vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, supports the immune system, promotes skin health, and aids in the absorption of iron. Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting and bone health.


Among the minerals, barley grass powder is rich in potassium, calcium, and iron. Potassium helps regulate fluid balance, muscle contractions, and nerve signals. Calcium is vital for maintaining strong bones and teeth, as well as supporting muscle function and nerve signalling. Iron is crucial for the formation of haemoglobin and the transportation of oxygen in the blood.


Other Nutrients:  


In addition to vitamins and minerals, barley grass powder contains several other beneficial compounds. It is particularly high in chlorophyll, the green pigment responsible for photosynthesis in plants. Chlorophyll has been shown to have detoxifying properties, promote wound healing, and enhance the body's natural defence mechanisms.


Barley grass powder also boasts a complete profile of amino acids, including all eight essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. These amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, necessary for muscle repair, enzyme production, and overall cellular function.


Moreover, barley grass powder is a rich source of antioxidants such as flavonoids, saponarin, and lutonarin. These antioxidants help combat oxidative stress by neutralising free radicals, reducing inflammation, and protecting against chronic diseases. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase are two enzymes found in barley grass powder that further enhance its antioxidant capacity, offering additional protection against cellular damage.

Barley Grass Powder Benefits - Nutritional Table

Barley Grass Powder Benefits:

1. Antioxidant Properties:


Barley grass powder is quite well known for its powerful antioxidant properties, which play a crucial role in combating oxidative stress. It is rich in antioxidants such as flavonoids, saponarin, lutonarin, and chlorophyll, which help neutralise harmful free radicals in the body. 


Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause cellular damage, leading to chronic diseases and ageing. By incorporating barley grass powder into your diet, you can enhance your body's ability to fight oxidative stress, reduce inflammation, and potentially protect against conditions like heart disease and cancer.


  • Combats oxidative stres: Rich in antioxidants like flavonoids, saponarin, lutonarin, and chlorophyll.

  • Protects against chronic diseases: Neutralises free radicals, reducing inflammation, which may help to prevent conditions such as heart disease and cancer.

Barley Grass Powder Benefits - High Antioxidant Properties

2. Detoxification:


One of the standout benefits of barley grass powder is its ability to detoxify the body. Chlorophyll, a prominent component of barley grass, is known for its detoxifying properties. It can help eliminate toxins from the bloodstream and supports the liver, the body's primary detox organ. 


Additionally, the presence of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and other antioxidants in barley grass may aid in the removal of harmful substances, promoting overall liver health and enhancing the body's natural detoxification processes.


  • Eliminates toxins: Chlorophyll helps detoxify the bloodstream and supports liver function.

  • Enhances liver health: Superoxide dismutase (SOD) and other antioxidants aid in removing harmful substances.


Barley Grass Powder Benefits - Detoxificiation

3. Weight Management:


Barley grass powder can be a valuable aid in weight management. Its high fibre content promotes satiety, reducing overall calorie intake by making you feel fuller for longer periods. Additionally, it contains compounds that help regulate lipid metabolism, which can reduce visceral fat. 


Studies have shown that regular consumption of barley grass powder can lead to reductions in body weight and body mass index (BMI), supporting its role as a beneficial supplement for weight control. However, more human research is required to validate this health benefit.


  • Promotes satiety: High fibre content helps you feel full, reducing calorie intake.

  • Regulates lipid metabolism: Compounds in barley grass reduce visceral fat and support weight control.

Barley Grass Powder Benefits - Weight Management

4. Digestive Health:


Barley grass powder has been shown to promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, which is essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system. The dietary fibre in barley grass acts as a prebiotic, feeding and supporting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Studies indicate that barley grass consumption can lead to an increase in beneficial gut bacteria such as Bifidobacterium and Lachnospiraceae. 


These bacteria play a critical role in improving digestion, enhancing nutrient absorption, and boosting the immune system. The increase in beneficial gut bacteria also helps in reducing inflammation and supporting overall gut health. However more studies are required to prove this potential link.


  • Regulates bowel movements: High dietary fibre content prevents constipation and promotes gut health.
  • Supports gut bacteria: Encourages the growth of beneficial gut bacteria for optimal digestion and nutrient absorption.
Barley Grass Powder Benefits - Digestive Health

5. Immune Support:


The rich nutrient profile of barley grass powder, including vitamins A, C, and E, contributes to its ability to boost the immune system. Vitamin C, in particular, is well-known for its immune-enhancing properties, as it stimulates the production of white blood cells and improves their function. 


Additionally, the antioxidants and chlorophyll in barley grass powder support the immune system by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, making the body more resilient against infections and illnesses.


  • Boosts immune function: Contains vitamins A, C, and E, which enhance white blood cell production and function.
  • Reduces oxidative stress: Antioxidants and chlorophyll support the immune system by lowering inflammation and oxidative stress.
Barley Grass Powder Benefits - Immune Boost

6. Blood Sugar Control:


Barley grass powder may be effective in controlling blood sugar levels, making it beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those at risk. The insoluble fibre in barley grass can help slow down the absorption of glucose in the bloodstream, preventing spikes in blood sugar levels after meals. 


Furthermore, it may improve insulin sensitivity, which is crucial for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Incorporating barley grass powder into your diet can thus help manage and prevent type 2 diabetes by stabilising blood sugar levels and enhancing overall glucose metabolism. Again, more research is required to determine how consuming barley grass can affect blood sugar levels.


  • Prevents glucose spikes: Insoluble fibre slows glucose absorption.

  • Enhances insulin sensitivity: Helps maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Barley Grass Powder Benefits - Blood Sugar Control

7. Anti-Inflammatory Effects:


Barley grass powder possesses significant anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce inflammation throughout the body. Chronic inflammation is a root cause of many diseases, including arthritis, heart disease, and autoimmune conditions. 


The flavonoids and antioxidants in barley grass powder inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory compounds, thereby reducing inflammation and providing relief from inflammatory conditions. Regular consumption of barley grass powder can help manage and prevent inflammation-related issues, promoting overall health and wellbeing.


  • Reduces chronic inflammation: Flavonoids and antioxidants inhibit pro-inflammatory compounds.

  • Relieves inflammatory conditions: Helps manage arthritis, heart disease, and autoimmune issues by reducing overall inflammation.

Barley Grass Powder Benefits - Anti-inflammtory Effects

Precautions and Side effects:


  • Allergies: May cause reactions in individuals with grass allergies.

  • Gluten Sensitivity: Risk of cross-contamination; choose certified gluten-free products if needed.

  • Medication Interactions: May interact with medications for blood thinning, blood sugar or clotting; seek medical advice.

  • Digestive Issues: Potential for bloating, gas, or diarrhoea; start with small doses.

  • Electrolyte Imbalance: High potassium content could affect those with kidney issues.

Dosage:


The recommended dosage for barley grass powder varies, but a typical serving is 1-2 teaspoons (3-6 grams) per day. Start with a smaller amount to allow your body to adjust, and gradually increase the dosage as desired. Always follow the manufacturer's guidelines and consult with a healthcare provider if you have any health conditions or concerns.

References and Further Reading:

1. Insoluble fiber in young barley leaf suppresses the increment of postprandial blood glucose level by increasing the digesta viscosity


This study examines how the insoluble fiber in young barley leaves affects postprandial blood glucose levels. The results indicate that barley leaf powder (BLP) and its derived insoluble fibers can suppress the increase in postprandial blood glucose levels in both rats and humans. The mechanism involves increasing the viscosity of the digesta, which slows down glucose absorption.

Publication Details: Akira Takano et al.; 2013; Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.


2. Anti-diabetic effects of barley grass in type 2 diabetic rats


This research investigates the anti-diabetic effects of barley grass in type 2 diabetic rats. The findings show that barley grass supplementation can significantly reduce blood glucose levels and improve insulin sensitivity. It suggests that barley grass could be a beneficial dietary addition for managing type 2 diabetes.

Publication Details: K. Yasui et al.; 2002; Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.


3. Hypocholesterolemic and antioxidant effects of young barley leaf in cholesterolfed rabbits:

The study explores the hypocholesterolemic and antioxidant effects of young barley leaf extract in rabbits fed a high-cholesterol diet. The results demonstrate that barley leaf extract can lower cholesterol levels and improve antioxidant status, suggesting potential benefits for cardiovascular health.

Publication Details: Y. Y. Yu et al.; 2002; Japanese Journal of Pharmacology.


4. Effects of young barley leaf powder on visceral fat and serum lipid levels in Japanese women

This study evaluates the effects of young barley leaf powder on visceral fat and serum lipid levels in Japanese women. The findings indicate that consumption of barley leaf powder can significantly reduce visceral fat and improve serum lipid profiles, supporting its use in weight management and cardiovascular health.

Publication Details: T. Kanauchi et al.; 2019; Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.


5. Preventive and Therapeutic Role of Functional Ingredients of Barley Grass for Chronic Diseases in Human Beings


This study examines the health benefits of barley grass powder, emphasizing its nutritional content—such as GABA, flavonoids, saponarin, lutonarin, SOD, and essential vitamins and minerals. These nutrients contribute to various health advantages, including improved sleep, blood pressure regulation, enhanced immunity, liver protection, and anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The research supports barley grass's potential as a functional food to prevent and manage chronic diseases and promote overall health.

Authors: Yawen Zeng, Xiaoying Pu, Jiazhen Yang, Juan Du, Xiaomeng Yang, Xia Li, Ling Li, Yan Zhou, Tao Yang. Date: April 4, 2018. Publication: Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity


6. Evaluation of Barley Grass as a Potential Source of Some Nutritional Substances 

This study examines the nutritional content and preservation techniques of barley grass, analysing nutrients like vitamin C, polyphenols, proteins, amino acids, and saccharides. It finds that nutrient levels, especially vitamin C and polyphenols, diminish as the plant ages. Among preservation methods—fluid drying, freeze drying, and freezing—the study identifies freezing as the best method for retaining nutritional value. The findings underscore barley grass's potential as a rich source of nutrients and antioxidants for food supplements.

Authors: Ivana Paulíčková, Jaroslava Ehrenbergerová, Vlasta Fiedlerová, Dana Gabrovská, Pavla Havlová, Marie Holasová, Jiří Kopáček, Jarmila Ouhrabková, Jitka Pinkrová, Jana Rysová, Kateřina Vaculová, Renata Winterová; February 27, 2007; Czech Journal of Food Sciences


7. Bioactivity evaluations of leaf extract fractions from young barley grass and correlation with their phytochemical profiles 


The study examines barley grass's medicinal properties, focusing on its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cytotoxic effects across different extracts. The methanol extract, highest in phenolics and flavonoids, showed the strongest activities and potential anti-tumor properties. GC-MS analysis identified 23 bioactive compounds, supporting its use in functional foods and therapeutics.

Publication Details: Mamata Panthi, Romit Kumar Subba, Bechan Raut, Dharma Prasad Khanal, Niranjan Koirala; February 26, 2020; BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies.


8. Barley phytochemicals and health promoting benefits: A comprehensive review

The review "Barley phytochemicals and health promoting benefits" explores barley's health benefits linked to its phytochemicals, such as beta-glucans, flavonoids, and folates. These compounds help reduce cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, and provide anticancer, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects. It also discusses barley's use in various industries like bakery and beverages, highlighting its nutritional value and versatility.

Publication Details: Rahul Raj, Rafeeya Shams, Vinay Kumar Pandey, Kshirod Kumar Dash, Poornima Singh, Omar Bashir; December 18, 2023; Journal of Agriculture and Food Research.


9. Barley grass juice (Hordeum vulgare L.) inhibits obesity and improves lipid profile in high fat diet-induced rat model


The study examines the anti-obesity effects of barley grass juice on obese rats, highlighting its ability to significantly lower body weight, improve lipid profiles, and enhance liver function. It also reduced inflammation and promoted better lipid metabolism. The research suggests barley grass juice is a potent anti-obesity nutraceutical.

Publication Details: Jhansyrani Thatiparthi, Sujatha Dodoala, Bharathi Koganti, KVSRG Prasad; 2019; Journal of Ethnopharmacology.






Frequently Asked Questions:

What are some other Barley grass powder benefits?

Barley grass powder is known for several additional health benefits beyond those listed in the article:


  • Skin Health: Its high antioxidant levels can help improve skin health by reducing the impact of free radicals, potentially helping with skin elasticity and reducing signs of aging.
  • Energy Levels: Barley grass is often claimed to boost energy due to its high nutrient content, making it a popular supplement among those looking to increase their energy naturally.
  • Heart Health: Some studies suggest that barley grass may contribute to better heart health by lowering cholesterol levels and improving blood pressure.

What are the primary nutrients found in barley grass powder?

Includes vitamins A, C, and K, minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, amino acids, antioxidants, and chlorophyll.

What are the best ways to take barley grass powder?

Barley grass powder can be incorporated into your diet in several effective ways:


  1. Smoothies: Blend it with fruits, vegetables, and a liquid base like water, milk, or juice for a nutritious smoothie.
  2. Juice: Mix the powder with water or your favorite juice to make a quick, nutrient-rich drink.
  3. Food Incorporation: Sprinkle it over salads, soups, or other dishes to add a nutritional boost without altering the flavor significantly.
  4. Capsules: If you prefer not to taste it, barley grass powder is also available in capsule form, which can be taken with water.
  5. Tea: Stir it into hot water to make a warm, soothing tea.

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