Scientific Facts about Barley Grass

Scientific Facts about Barley Grass
Prepared by Dr Y. Robles, RPh, PhD
Professor, UP College of Pharmacy

What is Barley Grass?
• Scientific names:  Hordeum vulgare, Hordeum distichon
• Common names: Barley also known as barley grass and hordeum.known
• It is an annual grass capable of growing in different climates.

Other Facts
• Barley grass has greater nutritional value if harvested at a young age (12-14 inches high) due to high concentration of vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll and amino acids lessen as the plant matures.
• Antioxidant property was also observed to be higher in young leaves than in mature leaves.

(Casino LM, Martin M, Sabater B ,Plant Physiol. 1994 Nov;106(3):1033-1039)

In addition, barley grass contains
• Enzyme system composed of Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), Catalase (CAT), Ascorbate Peroxidase (APX) and Guaiacol Peroxidase (GPX) and
• Phytochemicals like flavone C glycosides lutonarin and saponarin, ALL with identified antioxidant property

Indeed, Barley Grass is a rich source of nutrients and phytochemicals necessary for better health

Based on studies,
• Per hundred grams of Green barley juice contains
 – 11 times the calcium in cows' milk
 – Nearly 5 times the iron in spinach
 – 6.5 times as much carotene in spinach
 – 3.3 times as much vitamin C in spinach
 – 7 times the vitamin C in oranges
 – 30 times more Vitamin B1 than milk
 – 4 times vitamin B1 in whole wheat flour and
 – 80 mcg of vitamin B12

Reference: Resource Research Association, Office of Science and Technology, and Japan Food Analysis Center

• Barley grass juice and the powder that is made from it has a high protein content of 45% of the weight of barley grass powder. As a result, protein is the largest individual component of this food. In comparison, the protein contents of some food are as follows…

Whole wheat flour contains 10%
–        milk 3%
–        eggs 12% and
–        steak 16%

The protein of barley grass…
• Has 20 amino acids*, 8 of these are essential (meaning not produced by our body but from food sources)
• Is 90% absorbable by the body since they are already in simple forms (as amino acids)

Facts about Chlorophyll 





List of Alkaline/Acid Forming Foods Because lists of alkaline and acid forming foods may vary from one source to another, this list should be considered as generally accurate rather than exact.

Very Alkaline
Lemons, Limes, Watermelons, Pumpkin Seeds, Lentils, Onions, Sweet Potatoes, Nectarines, Raspberry, Pineapple, Cantalope, Dates, Figs, Kelp, Mango, Papaya, Seedless Grapes, Asparagus, Kiwi, Passion fruit, Pears, Raisins

Moderately Alkaline
Apples, Apricots, Avocado, Bananas, Garlic, Lettuce, Peas, Pumpkin, Kale, Parsley, Endive, Mustard green, ginger root, Broccoli, Grapefruit, Honey dew melon, Olives, Carrots, Mango, Celery, Peaches

Mildly Alkaline
Almonds, Jerusalem artichokes, Brussel sprouts, Cherries, Cucumber, Egg plant, Leeks, Okra, Mushrooms, Olives, Radishes, Tomatoes, Mayonnaise, Olive oil, Soy Beans, Potato, Bell pepper, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Beet, Coconut (fresh)

Mildly Acidic
Honey, Maple syrup, Cream, Butter, Cheese, Chicken, Venison, Fish, Duck, Brown Rice, Spinach, Fava Beans, Black eyed peas, String beans, Zucchini, Milk, Lamb, Shell fish, Turkey, Wheat, White Rice, Pinto beans, White Beans, Navy Beans, Red Beans, Lima Beans, Barley, Bran, Cashew Nuts, Cornmeal, Cranberries, Rye, Blueberries, Brazil nuts, Butter, Cheeses, Prunes

Moderately Acidic
Blueberries, Pasta, Popcorn, Coffee, Cottage Cheese, Pork, Veal, Squid, Corn, Rye, Oat, Peanuts, Snow peas, Garbanzo beans, Pomegranate, Fruit Juices (sweetened), Wheat germ, Wine, Yogurt

Very Acidic 
Artificial Sweeteners, Beef, Brown Sugar, Carbonated soft drinks, Chocolate, Drugs (several types), Flour (white), Jams, Jellies, Liquor, Pastries, Table Salt, Tea (Black), Wine, Yogurt (sweetened), Beer, Sugar, Cocoa, Lobster, Pheasant, Fried foods

According to an article written in February of 1999 by Judy McBride for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, eating large amounts of foods with high ORAC values resulted in:

• Raised the antioxidant power of human blood 10 to25 percent
• Prevented some loss of long-term memory and learning ability in middle-aged rats
• Maintained the ability of brain cells in middle-aged rats to respond to a chemical stimulus--a function that normally decreases with age
• Protected rats' tiny blood vessels--capillaries--against oxygen damage

Facts about Antioxidants and the Oxidation Process
The Oxidation Process
• Cells are composed of many different types of molecules.
• Molecules consist of one or more atoms of one or more elements joined by chemical bonds.

Normally, chemical bonds do not leave molecules with odd, unpaired electrons (free radicals). But in the case of weak bonds, free radicals are formed.

Free radicals are
• Unstable
• React quickly with other compounds
• Generally, free radicals attack the nearest stable molecule, "stealing" its electron
• When the "attacked" molecule loses its electron, it becomes a free radical itself, beginning a chain reaction
• Once the process is started, it can cascade, finally resulting in the disruption of a living cell.

Common sources of free radicals
• Waste products from normal metabolic processes in the body
• Ionizing radiation
• Air pollutants
• Toxic industrial chemicals
• Pesticides and other chemicals
• Smoking
• Drugs

Normally, the body can handle free radicals, but if antioxidants are unavailable, or if the free-radical production becomes excessive, damage can occur. Of particular importance is that free radical damage accumulates with age.

So far, scientists have linked oxygen reactions to at least 60 diseases and to. Aging itself

Some Examples of the Effects of Oxidation
–        Clogging of arteries
–        Abnormal multiplication of cells
–        Joint problems
–        CNS malfunctions
–        Skin aging – dry skin, wrinkles

To prevent oxidation, there is a need for need for antioxidants because…

•They act as scavengers
•They neutralize free radicals by donating one of their own electrons, ending the “electron “stealing reaction
•They protect the body by preventing cell and tissue damage that could lead to disease

Vitamins A, C, & E
Selenium, etc

• NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS containing known antioxidant

Barley grass contains … 
• Enzyme system composed of Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), Catalase (CAT), Ascorbate Peroxidase (APX) and Guaiacol Peroxidase (GPX) and
• Phytochemicals like flavone C glycosides lutonarin and saponarin, ALL with identified antioxidant property

• Khosravinejad F, Heydari R,Farboodnia T., Pak J Biol Sci. 2008 Mar 15;11(6):905-9.
• Markham, KA and Mitchell KR, Z Naturforsch [C]. 2003 Jan-Feb;58(1-2):53-6

It is short for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, and is a test tube analysis that measures the total antioxidant power of foods and other chemical substances. It was developed by scientists at the USDA (United States Department Of Agriculture)

About ORAC
• Some evaluations will compare ORAC units per grams dry weight, others will evaluate ORAC units wet weight and still others will look at ORAC units/serving.
• Under each evaluation, different foods can appear to have higher ORAC values.
• Although a raisin has no more antioxidant potential than the grape from which it was dried, raisins will appear to have a much higher ORAC value per gram wet weight than grapes due to their reduced water content
• Likewise, watermelons large water content can make it appear as though they are very low in antioxidants.
• Additionally, considering the ORAC value per calorie could be of some utility, as understanding just how much antioxidizing potential one could incorporate from a product into one's diet would determine the real utility of the product.
• Recent studies have shown foods that score high in the ORAC table may protect cells and their components from oxidative damage.





3,000 to 5,000 ORAC units per day are required
Studies show that the average person gets only about 1200 ORAC units per day from 3 servings of fruits and vegetables. However 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC units per day are required to have a significant impact on plasma and tissue antioxidant capacity. Example Each tablespoon of one brand of barley grass juice powder contains about 1275 ORAC units. Two tablespoons a day about 2550, three tablespoons 3825.

There is sufficient scientific evidences regarding the value of barley grass powder as source of:
– Chlorophyll
– Protein
– Vitamins and Minerals
– Phytochemicals particularly antioxidants

Which are essential for maintaining health, preventing, and alleviating symptoms of diseases.