In the 1930s, a feed chemist named Charles Schnabel had a bright idea, perhaps having glimpsed a future whose citizens had discovered how to mine a cooperative natural world for wellness and…what’s the word? Oh yeah. Power. Schnabel developed a way to harvest wheat grass at that juncture in its growth cycle where its nutritional potency was at its peak. That growth period before the wheatgrass blade begins to “joint" is a zenith of natural potency in the grass. Once the wheatgrass does indeed “joint”, its power is (understandably) diverted to the foundational raison d'être of Life itself - the producing of a seed kernel. When you take your daily dose of wheatgrass, you're getting all the incandescent fundamentals intended for the seed. And that’s everything the parent plant has to offer. Schnabel’s tactical interruption of wheatgrass’ development cycle was intuitive gold, and remains today the reason commercially proffered wheatgrass is so packed with energy and nutrients.
Schnabel’s genius was in unlocking wheatgrass’ potential as a superfood, but even he might’ve been stunned at how his eureka moment has played out. He likely didn’t foresee skin-tight lycra, for instance. And so now it’s come to this. At this or that farmer’s market you stare in wonder as an enlightened fellow creature, often in skin-squeezing bicycling gear, hoists a shot glass of vivid, neon-green juice and downs it like spring water. You've seen these little wheatgrass stands. Usually there is a blender, an overly-energized server in an apron, and a decorative little plot of earth with bright green grass growing straight up out of it with the rectitude of a marine drill sergeant's crew cut.
"Want a shot of wheatgrass?!"
Um, maybe if you can calm down a little?
But the excitement is genuine, and genuinely felt: especially when the stuff hits your bloodstream. What’s the fuss? One word (approximately); antioxidants, apoptosis, anti-inflammatory properties, Alzheimer pushback...and that's just the ‘A’s. Like most organic Life, wheatgrass has built-in energy. And it's all transferable.
This Superfood is so crazily over-endowed with nutrients, enzymes, and an alphabet soup of vitamins, you have to wonder if Mom Nature missed a nap or two when she came up with the stuff. Antioxidant, inflammation-mellowing, gut-calming, and neuro-protecting, Schnabel’s wheatgrass trick remains a big deal. And here is one other little thing they’re looking into.
Beta-Amyloid. Heard of it? It’s a mischievous peptide believed responsible for the so-called "senile plaques" whose buildup on neurons are central to the pathology of Alzheimer's. Beta-Amyloid has been also been reported to kill cells via oxidative stress (the cellular ailment antioxidants battle so successfully). So? Why this sudden Beta-Amyloid speech?
Well, a study was conducted to check out the protective effects of Triticum aestivum (wheat) on Beta-Amyloid-induced cell death. A triticum pre-treatment suppressed Beta-Amyloid's effects on cells. In other words, it's been established that Triticum aestivum (wheat!) pushes back against the Beta-Amyloid peptide in a cellular protection setting. How might wheat extracts stand up to Beta-Amyloid in its other incarnation as a neuron-deadener? Stay tuned; they're working on it. So next time you’re at a wheatgrass stand and see someone shrink-wrapped into one of those form-fitting Tour de France getups…buy the biker a green shot and propose a toast. “To Schnabel!”
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