Fermented Wheat Germ Extract

Reviewed on 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

Fermented Extract Of Wheat Germ, FWGE, MSC, Triticum Aestivum Germ Extract, Triticum Vulgare Germ Extract.


Fermented wheat germ extract is made by treating extract of wheat kernel with yeast.

People take fermented wheat germ extract by mouth for colon and rectal cancer, arthritis, skin cancer, an autoimmune disorder called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and to reduce chemotherapy side effects.

People apply fermented wheat germ extract to the skin to prevent sunburn.

How does it work?

Fermented wheat germ extract might prevent cancer from becoming worse by slowing cancer growth. It might also stimulate the immune system and have antioxidant effects.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Side effects caused by chemotherapy. Early research shows that taking a specific fermented wheat germ extract (Avemar) as a drink twice per day while undergoing chemotherapy helps prevent fever and white blood cell count reduction in children compared to undergoing chemotherapy alone.
  • Colon and rectal cancer. Early research shows that taking a specific fermented wheat germ extract (Avemar) once or twice per day for at least 6 months while undergoing chemotherapy helps reduce the risk of death and prevents cancer from becoming worse or spreading compared to chemotherapy alone.
  • Skin cancer. Early research shows that taking a specific fermented wheat germ extract (Avemar) as a drink once per day for 12 months along with dacarbazine chemotherapy increases survival compared to dacarbazine chemotherapy alone in patients with a type of skin cancer called melanoma.
  • Arthritis. Early research shows that taking a specific fermented wheat germ extract (Avemar) as a drink twice per day for 12 months along with steroids or other medicines used for arthritis helps reduce morning stiffness and decrease the need for steroids in people with arthritis.
  • An immune disorder called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
  • Preventing sunburn.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of fermented wheat germ extract for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Fermented wheat germ extract is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts. Doses of 8.5 to 9 grams once or twice per day have been used safely for up to 12 months. Fermented wheat germ extract might cause feelings of fullness, diarrhea, nausea, gas, constipation, or soft stools when taken by mouth.

There is not enough reliable information about the safety of fermented wheat germ extract when applied to the skin.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking fermented wheat germ extract as medicine if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid using.

Children: Fermented wheat germ extract is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts. Doses of 6 grams/m2 twice per day have been used safely for 29 months.

Organ transplant recipients: Fermented wheat germ extract might increase the immune system. This might increase the risk of organ transplant rejection. If you have received an organ transplant, don't use fermented wheat germ extract until more is known.


Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Fermented wheat germ extract seems to increase the immune system. By increasing the immune system, fermented wheat germ extract might decrease the effectiveness of medications that decrease the immune system.

Some medications that decrease immune system activity include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.


The appropriate dose of fermented wheat germ extract depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for fermented wheat germ extract. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Balint G, Apathy A, Gaal M, et al. Effect of Avemar--a fermented wheat germ extract--on rheumatoid arthritis. Preliminary data. Clin Exp Rheumatol 2006;24(3):325-328. View abstract.

Boros LG, Lapis K, Szende B, et al. Wheat germ extract decreases glucose uptake and RNA ribose formation but increases fatty acid synthesis in MIA pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells. Pancreas 2001;23(2):141-147. View abstract.

Comin-Anduix B, Boros LG, Marin S, et al. Fermented wheat germ extract inhibits glycolysis/pentose cycle enzymes and induces apoptosis through poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase activation in Jurkat T-cell leukemia tumor cells. J Biol Chem 2002;277(48):46408-46414. View abstract.

Demidov LV, Manziuk LV, Kharkevitch GY, Pirogova NA, Artamonova EV. Adjuvant fermented wheat germ extract (Avemar) nutraceutical improves survival of high-risk skin melanoma patients: a randomized, pilot, phase II clinical study with a 7-year follow-up. Cancer Biother Radiopharm 2008;23(4):477-482. View abstract.

Ehrenfeld M, Blank M, Shoenfeld Y, Hidvegi M. AVEMAR (a new benzoquinone-containing natural product) administration interferes with the Th2 response in experimental SLE and promotes amelioration of the disease. Lupus 2001;10(9):622-627. View abstract.

Garami M, Schuler D, Babosa M, et al. Fermented wheat germ extract reduces chemotherapy-induced febrile neutropenia in pediatric cancer patients. J Pediat Hematol Oncol 2004;26(10):631-635. View abstract.

Gidali J, Hidvégi M, Fehér I, et al. The effect of Avemar treatment on the regeneration of leukocytes, thrombocytes and reticulocytes in sublethally irradiated or cyclophosphamide treated mice. First Congress of the Hungarian Society of Clinical Oncology, Budapest, Hungary, November 10-11, 2000.

Heimbach JT, Sebestyen G, Semjen G, Kennepohl E. Safety studies regarding a standardized extract of fermented wheat germ. Int J Toxicol 2007;26(3):253-259. View abstract.

Hidvegi M, Raso E, Tomoskozi Farkas R, Lapis K, Szende B. Effect of MSC on the immune response of mice. Immunopharmacology 1999;41(3):183-186. View abstract.

Jakab F, Mayer A, Hoffmann A, Hidvegi M. First clinical data of a natural immunomodulator in colorectal cancer. Hepatogastroenterology 2000;47(32):393-395. View abstract.

Jakab F, Shoenfeld Y, Balogh A, et al. A medical nutriment has supportive value in the treatment of colorectal cancer. Br J Cancer 2003;89(3):465-469. View abstract.

Lin Y, Rudrum M, van der Wielen RP, et al. Wheat germ policosanol failed to lower plasma cholesterol in subjects with normal to mildly elevated cholesterol concentrations. Metabolism 2004;53:1309-14. View abstract.

Minamiyama Y, Takemura S, Yoshikawa T, Okada S. Fermented grain products, production, properties and benefits to health. Pathophysiology 2003;9(4):221-227. View abstract.

Mueller T, Voigt W. Fermented wheat germ extract--nutritional supplement or anticancer drug? Nutr J 2011;10:89. View abstract.

Patel S. Fermented wheat germ extract: a dietary supplement with anticancer efficacy. Nutr Ther Metab 2014;32(2):61-67.

Saiko P, Ozsvar-Kozma M, Madlener S, et al. Avemar, a nontoxic fermented wheat germ extract, induces apoptosis and inhibits ribonucleotide reductase in human HL-60 promyelocytic leukemia cells. Cancer Lett 2007;250(2):323-328. View abstract.

Sukkar SG, Rossi E. Oxidative stress and nutritional prevention in autoimmune rheumatic diseases. Autoimmun Rev 2004;3(3):199-206. View abstract.

Vucskits, AV, Hullar, I, Bersenyi, A, Andrasofszky, E, Kulcsar, M, Szabo, J. Effect of fulvic and humic acids on performance, immune response and thyroid function in rats. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl) 2010;94(6):721-728. View abstract.