Barley Grass: A Superior Antioxidant

Vitamins C and E are well known for their antioxidant activity, neutralizing toxic free radicals that can foster malignant cell growth. Now 2"-O-glycosylisovitexin (2-O-GIV), a newly discovered and perhaps more potent antioxidant, has emerged from the blades of barley grass. Although 2-O-GIV does exist in other plants, green barley provides an abundant and edible source. One test-tube study found 2-O-GIV to be three times more potent as an antioxidant than vitamin C. Another test-tube study found 2-O-GIV to be a particularly effective antioxidant in the blood, boosted by the addition of vitamin C. This new antioxidant can also be a protective agent in foods; 2-O-GIV, when added to beer, protected the beer from free-radical attack when exposed to room temperature. While a need remains for human studies, several recent test-tube studies continue to support the robust antioxidant activity of 2-O-GIV in concentrations that may be achievable with supplementation of a barley grass product, in pill or liquid form.

Nutrition and exercise biochemist Anthony Almada, MS, has collaborated on more than 45 university-based studies and is founder and chief scientific officer of IMAGINutrition.