For nerve nourishment, fuel up on octacosanol

Wheat-germ extract adds stamina when facing simple or serious fatigue
Wheat, a carbohydrate, may seem an unlikely source of a vita-nutrient, but it's not. If you look inside a grain refiner's rubbish bin, you'll find one of complementary medicine's greatest un- acknowledged supplements. Tossed out with the bathwater during the creation of white flour is wheat germ, the source from which we derive octacosanol. Early nutrition scientists considered wheat germ valuable only for its vitamin E. Not until the late Carlton Fredericks used it to awaken people from comas did we learn of the nutrient's higher potential in treating neural and neurological disturbances, and, as was soon found, it's also a great stamina strengthener.

Nutritional nerve

Just by administering tube feedings of
octacosanol, Fredericks sparked dramatic recoveries in coma patients who had been deemed untreatable by conventional doctors. Believing it helped to regenerate nerves, he prescribed it as part ofms therapies for several brain and muscular disorders, including cerebral palsy, post-stroke syndrome, and muscle inflammation. Then attention turned to people whose lack of
stamina stemmed from a more dire condition -
multiple sclerosis. Their fatigue, one of the autoimmune disorder's most characteristic symptoms, usually faded. Hundreds of MS patients have since gone on to live more active, fulfilling lives because of octacosanol. Medical textbooks still state that it's impossible to repair damaged neurons, especially in the brain, but the initial work was bolstered by research from the 1950's showing that components of wheat-germ did, in fact, affect neurological mechanisms, including those involved in dermatomyositis, a collagen disease that kills muscle fibers and inflames the skin and subcutaneous tissue. Newer research also suggests that long-chain fatty alcohols like protective nerve coverings, called myelin, in the brain and spine of people with MS or Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).


Better than before

The debate over nerve regeneration, though, is almost irrelevant. The point is that taking octacosanol supplements allows most people with MS to feel better and do more than they could have otherwise. It's also a reliable brain fuel in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. People with hypoglycemia also respond to it. Extra mental energy translates into increased physical stamina. As a variety of studies confirm, octacosanol can boost muscular strength (including that of the heart), quicken reaction time, and increase muscular endurance. It also lowers systolic blood pressure (the top number), shores up the body's resistance to stress, and speeds up an athlete's running time.The vita-nutrient works because it improves muscle-glycogen storage and delivers more oxygen to body tissues. Anyone who feels muscle pain after exercising probably can derive some benefit, as should anyone with a low endurance level. That sounds like the vast majority of us. If a nutrient can help stir a coma patient, it might rouse the sleeping stamina in you too.

Octacosanol: what to take

A number of foods contain small amounts of octacosanol - alfalfa, ginkgo biloba, some vegetable oils, and even sugar cane - but its highest concentration is in wheat germ. Supplements of synthetic octacosanol are available, but they don't contain the wheat germ's other active constituents, which no doubt contribute to its therapeutic effects. As little as I mg (1,000 mcg) of octacosanol daily can be beneficial. Athletes have noticed marked improvement in physical performance after taking 6 mg a. day. In the published studies, dosages have ranged :trom 40 to 80 mg per day. Two teaspoons of wheat germ contains between 200 to 600 mcg.


Cerebral Palsy

Octacosanol: Maximizing Muscle Performance by Dr. Leon Bylenok  Note: Treats atypical muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, MS and ALS (dose: 40 mgm daily plus multi-vitamins for muscular dystrophy while still in the flare-up and remissions stages.) Octacosanol is a long, 28-carbon straight chain aliphatic alcohol. It is one of several important constituents found in wheat germ oil. Octacosanol can be obtained from natural sources such as wheat germ oil and other vegetable matter. It can also be synthesized from primary chemicals. The natural form is a pale beige powder-like crystal, whereas the synthetic form resembles table salt. Dr. Thomas Cureton, at the University of Illinois, ran clinical studies using Octacosanol in his athletic programs involving swimming, track, and other
demanding physical sports. The clinical results showed
impressive improvement in stamina, muscle strength, endurance, resistance to stress, increased running time and cardiovascular fitness. Since Dr. Cureton's work in the late '40s, many clinical studies have been done in the neuromuscular disorder field, using the concentrated
Octacosanol as part of therapy
. It is thought that Octacosanol is a catalytic agent, acting at the cellular level. It has an effect on the transfer of oxygen from the blood into muscle tissue, where it mediates the release of oxygen.
This tends to reduce lactic acid build-up in muscle tissue and improves physical performance.
Dr. Milhort, researcher at the Montreal Neurological Institute, found that the wheat germ oil concentrate contains factors effecting the neurological mechanisms in the body. He found in clinical trials that concentrated wheat germ oil had a specific use in treating dermatomyositis (a collagen disease with inflammation of the skin's subcutaneous tissue, including muscle fiber death). His studies show significant improved values in several cases of atypical muscular dystrophy, menopausal dystrophy, and progressive muscle dystrophy. Dr. Carlton Fredericks mentions his work on treating neuromuscular disorders in many of his books. He used a treatment plan for cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis, combining Octacosanol with a dietary regimen and supplemental vitamin nutrients. He attained a certain success rate, depending on severity and length of the medical problem. Improvements occurred in multiple sclerosis which showed no spontaneous remission. He suggests that certain observations show that the wheat germ oil concentrate fraction is capable of stimulating the repair of damaged neurons. The theory in
medical literature
states that long chain fatty alcohols may be able to repair the myelin sheath in the spine and brain. Myelin is a fat-like substance forming a sheath around the nerve fiber as a protective coating to prevent short circuiting of nerve impulses. MS and ALS patients recognize that destroyed myelin is the main cause of their disability. The theory works as follows: as long as multiple sclerosis patients continue to have flare-ups and remissions, the nerves are being remyelinated during remission and destroyed during flare-ups. The long chain fatty alcohol is thought to repair and stabilize destroyed portions of myelin sheath.
Anecdotal reports from MS and ALS patients state that when Octacosanol doses are decreased, the patient's condition worsens. However, on increasing the dosage, the condition improves. Vitamins are generally included in addition to Octacosanol supplementation. They include the anti-oxidants Vitamin A, C, E, and B Complex, with Inositol and Choline, plus B-12. Research compiled by Tim Vaughn, Vitamin Department Manager at Foods for the Family, and Lisa Saslove, a Cal Poly Nutritional Science Department graduate student shows Octacosanol in a favorable light. "Once isolated and extracted from any of its sources," Saslove said, "octacosanol becomes a highly potent substance with an impressive versatility. It has been proven to enhance stamina, strength and reflex-reaction time -- something most of us and not just athletes can benefit from. It seems to exert a favorable influence on the reproductive processes and cardiovascular functions."
Dosages of Octacosanol range from 1 milligram to 40 milligrams daily, depending on the severity of the medical problem. There appears to be no toxic effects at these dosage levels. However, 1 milligram is considered a sufficient dose to take for desired improvement in aerobic activity. Muscular dystrophy may require 40 milligrams daily. It is important that every patient consult his or her physician prior to pursuing individualized treatment.


OCTACOSANOL: Scientists would describe octacosanol as Ch3(Ch2)26CH20H, a primary octacosyl alcohol. It is composed of 28 straight-chained carbon atoms. A hydroxyl (CH) group is attached to the last carbon atom in the chain. The melting point of this white crystalline solid? 182 F. I beg your pardon? You say you don’t have a degree in chemistry. Then try this. Octacosanol is a substance found in small amounts in wheat, alfalfa leaves, most other vegetables and whole grains, bamboo, the wax of apples and other fruits, animal sources, and petroleum products such as paraffin. It is found in highest concentrations

in vegetable oils. Wheat germ oil is the richest source.

WHEAT GERM OIL It is with wheat germ oil that the story of octacosanol begins. In the 1920s a commercial process was developed that could extract the oil from wheat germ. Prominent European scientists began observing the effects of wheat germ oil on animals and man. Dr. W. Risse published claims that substances in wheat germ oil enhanced reproduction and general vitality. The 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s saw more publications and claims. The British Medical Journal, Journal of Neurological Psychiatry, and Science magazine articles suggested that the nervous system and cholesterol levels benefitted from wheat germ oil.

The University of Illinois became the center of wheat germ oil research in this country. Graduate theses of William Smiley and Charles White in the 1950s reported exercise studies on humans. Individuals supplementing their diets with wheat germ oil exhibited reduced oxygen stress and quickened reaction times. Four years later, Ershoff and Levin found that the swimming performance of guinea pigs benefitted from wheat germ oil. In 1939, vitamin E had been identified as the chief active ingredient in wheat germ oil. Was vitamin E responsible for the health benefits associated with the oil? Some biochemists initially said yes. To settle the issue, animal studies using both the newly isolated vitamin E and whole wheat germ oil were conducted. Results were not the same. These studies revealed a significant difference in the benefits of isolated vitamin E and wheat germ oil. The oil was clearly superior for improving endurance. What, besides vitamin E, was present in the oil? Assays eventually revealed essential fatty acids such as linoleic acid, plant sterols, and a group of alcohols. These long chained molecules in the alcohol family were given the names triacontanol, tetracosanol, hexacosanol, and octacosanol. Ezra Levin developed a commercial process to extract these alcohols from wheat germ oil. He founded a company to produce wheat germ oil concentrates, and in 1962 patented the process. Our story now takes us back to the University of Illinois. It was here that a professor of physical education designed and conducted a 20-year study to access the influence of wheat germ oil concentrate and its components on human physiology. Dr. Thomas Cureton’s interest in the food-health connection started in 1932 when he attended the Olympic games in Los Angeles. He made a comprehensive study of the fitness of Japanese and American swimmers His appraisal of the teams led him to accurately predict the Japanese victory in the swimming competition. Even though the Americans were swimming 15 seconds under the world record for the 800 meter relay, the Japanese defeated the American team by 28 seconds. Was the superior Japanese performance related to diet? Cureton thought so. He had observed that the Japanese swimmers drank no coffee and ate in moderation. Their small, simple meals were composed primarily of vegetables, whole grains, and soy beans; American swimmers, in contrast, chose vastly different foods, “and ate so much they couldn’t breathe.”

FITNESS EXPERIMENT WITH WHEAT GERMThis early interest in athletic performance as a function of diet led Dr. Cureton to conduct his own controlled study. In 1941, he opened the first fitness lab in the country. This was the perfect setting in which to conduct studies on dietary supplements and athletic performance. Dr. Cureton began a 20-year study in 1949. The series of experiments were designed to study the effects of wheat germ oil concentrate on endurance and oxygen utilization during exercise. Could concentrated wheat germ oil increase muscular strength? He also wondered if it could reduce the buildup of lactic acid after exercise. Participants in the Cureton study were not all Olympic hopefuls. He selected his subjects from all ages and all levels of fitness. Some were members of the University’s wrestling, track, and swimming teams. Others were less active, middle-aged men. This double-blind study relied on the products from Levin’s Company: wheat germ oil concentrate, octacosanol, vitamin E, and placebo capsules. From 1949 to 1969, 894 subjects were studied. The studies included 42 tests - endurance performance, basal metabolism, oxygen intake and oxygen debt, total body reaction time, to name a few. In 1971, Cureton published his conclusions in Transactions of the New York Academy of Sciences. He declared that he had isolated the active, energy-releasing component of wheat germ oil. Octacosanol. Improved performance in heavy exercise and during competition appeared linked to octacosanol intake. Concurrently, animal research seemed to support Cureton’s conclusions. Studies on rats at Kansas State University confirmed that octacosanol supplementation improved oxygen utilization. Cureton’s subjects had supplemented their diets daily with the equivalent of 1000 micrograms of octacosanol and 2000 micrograms of other long-chained alcohols naturally occurring in wheat germ oil concentrates. Results of testing indicated:

(1) Improved endurance.

(2) Improved reaction time.

(3) Reduced oxygen debt.

(4) Reduced stress at high altitudes.

(5) Improved muscle glycogen storage.

(6) Stable basal metabolic rate under stress.

“Is there a hormonal response to octacosanol?”

Other researchers have observed the effects of wheat germ oil and possibly octacosanol on health. A Danish scientist claims that it increases fertility and prevents spontaneous abortion. Wheat germ oil has been shown to be effective in inducing pregnancy in hard-to-breed cows.


Human pregnancy problems seem to have responded to wheat germ oil. Both in England and the United States, studies indicate that wheat germ oil concentrate aids in preventing spontaneous abortion. Researchers concluded that something other than vitamin E was responsible for the embryo’s survival. They theorized that something in the wheat germ oil increased uterine glycogen. Could that something have been octacosanol? “Dr. Fredericks describes other benefits from octacosanol supplementation.” W.R. Dukelow, Ph.D., biochemist at the University of Georgia, has analyzed the difference between vitamin E and octacosanol. He reports that octacosanol, in its refined form, is responsible for many benefits to expectant mothers. Among these are statistically significant decreases in the percentage of premature births and toxemia of pregnancy. Is there a hormonal response to octacosanol? Animal studies suggest there is. When experimental chickens were fed supplemental octacosanol, their combs grew stronger than those in the control group. Researchers concluded that this was a result of hormonal response to the extra octacosanol. Carlton Fredericks, Ph.D., frequently refers to octacosanol, both in his lectures and books. He has observed it to be of benefit in brain damage, muscular atrophy, various types of cerebral palsy, post-stroke syndrome, inflammation of muscles, and other nerve-muscle disorders. In his latest book, Carlton Fredericks’ Program for Living Longer, he says of this nutrient, “I have been responsible for administration of octacosanol to some 300 multiple sclerosis patients, whose responses indicated that octacosanol helps to restore the ‘insulation’ (myeline sheaths), whose disappearance causes the ‘shortcircuiting’ of the nervous system, which is a component of the disease. Other responses led me to believe that this nutrient stimulates the repair of damaged brain cells (neurons), which the textbooks for decades have mistakenly declared impossible. The recoveries I have witnessed in the treatment of brain damage indicate that this nutrient - and it is a nutrient may also help to protect those brain cells which are healthy.” Dr. Fredericks describes other benefits from octacosanol  supplementation. These include an ergonomic effect, meaning augmenting energy. Based on these observations, he recommends octacosanol supplementation. Rather than rely on pure octacosanol, he recommends that it be derived from wheat germ oil and accompanied by related physiologically active compounds.




Is it possible to regain and sustain excellent health without octacosanol supplementation? To answer that question, let’s look to the past. In the 1930s, Dr. Weston A. Price, an inquisitive researcher, travelled the globe in search of cultures in which all members exhibited excellent health. He found such groups on every continent: Eskimos in North America, Swiss in Europe, the Masai in Africa. He observed a total of 14 cultures in which all members had magnificent physiques, incredible stamina, absence of arthritis and other degenerative diseases, consistently uncomplicated pregnancies with beautifully formed offspring, and virtually no dental decay. Members of these 14 cultures exhibited robust, creative health throughout their entire lifespans. They shared these traits:

(1)       They ate a variety of only unrefined foods - vegetables, whole grains, seafood,eggs, nuts, seeds, animal protein, and homemade dairy products.

(2) They maintained a positive, realistic self-image, accepted responsibility for their sustenance and survival, and willingly cooperated with each other, knowing that in this way, they ensured survival of their group.

Dr. Melvin E. Page was a serious student of the Price research. He and Dr. Price sharedsimilar observations of groups who did not enjoy excellent health. These relatively unhealthy people shared these traits:


(1) They ate refined foods and foods which were not a part of their ancestral diets.

(2) Their self-image had changed to one of dependency on others. Rather than see themselves as assertive and powerful, they viewed themselves as victims. There was an increasing attitude of competition and a lack of willingness to cooperate with each other.


“ must first lay the solid foundation of a healthy lifestyle.”

Dr. Page developed a clinical method for measuring the detrimental effects of eating refined foods and altering one’s self-image to that of self-deprecation. With laboratory techniques, he also measured the healing effects resulting from transformation in lifestyle. After previously unhealthy clients ate a variety of only unrefined food, consistent with their ancestral heritage, and transformed their self-image, he was then able to study the isolated effects of specific supplements. Whether these supplements are glandular support for genetically weak glands or food supplements such as octacosanol, the model is the same. In order to observe the benefits of any supplement, one must first lay the solid foundation of a healthy lifestyle. Athletes who benefit most from a superior supplement, such as octacosanol from wheat germ oil, are probably devoting conscious attention to all aspects of their health.Scheduled exercise, careful food selection, adequate rest, and a positive self-image are all part of their comprehensive program.


Wheat Germ. You will recall from the discussion of whole or brown rice that the germ of rice and other grains contains vital nutrients such as vitamin E and important trace minerals. This is equally true of wheat germ, which also contains first-class protein, much oil, and phosphates, which play an important role in the nervous system. The high vitamin E content of wheat germ is perhaps its most important nutrient feature.  Vitamin E plays a considerable part in the development and function of the reproductive organs, and indeed in the entire metabolic system of the body. Provided there is no physical disability, vitamin E is often an aid to conception when a women eats food rich in this vitamin. Due to its high content of vitamin E, wheat germ is the most indicated single item for this purpose; 100 grams (about 4 ounces) of wheat germ contains as much as 30 milligrams of pure vitamin E. Wheat germ is also one of the best remedies to help overcome a tendency to premature birth.  brucellosis (undulant fever) has been successfully treated with vitamin E preparations, and there is no better specific remedy than wheat germ. Experiments have been made with feeding wheat germ to cattle suffering from brucellosis and the results have shown that sufficient quantities of vitamin E eventually enable the body to build up resistance to the disease and overcome it.  Girls and women who become obese because of ovarian insufficiency should take herbal sitz baths and eat plenty of wheat germ, as this will stimulate the ovaries, increase the metabolic rate of the body and so dispose of undesirable fat.  Wheat germ as a concentrated food is really necessary in our civilized world, where so much low-value denatured food is eaten, causing more and more deficiency diseases.