Fermented wheat germ extract

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Fermented wheat germ extract (FWGE), also called fermented wheat germ powder (FWGP), is a concentrated extract of wheat germ derived from the germ (endosperm, or seed) of the wheat plant. FWGE, which was invented in the early '90s in Hungary, differs from ordinary wheat germ in that it is fermented with baker's yeast to concentrate biologically-active benzoquinones.

FWGE is available commercially and is sold under the trade name Avemar. In the U.S., the product is classified as a dietary supplement and is marketed as Awge. Avemar is manufactured in Hungary, by Biropharma Ltd., where it is approved as dietary food for special medical purposes for cancer patients.

FWGE is often falsely advertised as a cure for cancer,as some believe,studies have shown that is has cured cancer in some cases.[1]

The National Institute of Health reports:

[Avemar] shows potent anticancer activity on cell lines by deeply interfering with glucose metabolism
and affecting expressions of several kinases. In vivo experimental models, Avemar is also effective by
enhancing the activity of the immune system such as stimulating NK cell activity (by reducing MHC I molecule
expression), enhancing TNF secretion of the macrophages, increasing ICAM 1 molecule expression on the
vascular endothelial cells. All of these lead to apoptosis [death] of tumor cells. [2] 

History of development of FWGE[edit]

In the 1990s, 5 Hungarian scientists Rita Tömösközi-Farkas, Károly Lapis, Erzsébet Rásó, and Béla Szende, Mate Hidvegi developed and patented an industrial fermentation process for large-scale production of FWGE extract.[3]


FWGE has been the subject of research investigations involving isolated cells in vitro, animals, and human clinical trials. The inventors who hold the patent on the process for manufacturing FWGE (Mate Hidvegi, Rita Tömösközi-Farkas, Károly Lapis, Erzsébet Rásó, and Béla Szende) authored the majority of published research on the product to date.[4][5] According to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the potential benefits described by this research need to be confirmed by large and rigorous clinical trials.[6]

The Quackometer blog has categorized Avemar as a questionable, unproven treatment, "not unlike a marmite pill".[7]


FWGE should not be taken by children or by women who are pregnant or breast feeding. It should not be taken by those who have undertaken organ or tissue transplants, or those who suffer from bleeding erosions or bleeding ulcers of the gastrointestinal tract, enteritis, colitis, or malabsorption syndrome. Patients taking prescription medicine should consult with their doctor before use.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ A nagy rákbiznisz (The great cancer business) - Heti Válasz, 2011-12-16 (Hungarian)
  2. ^ . National Institute of Health http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20155632.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "Immunostimulatory and metastasis inhibiting fermented vegetal material (WO/1999/008694).". World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  4. ^
    • Jakab F, Shoenfeld Y, Balogh A, et al. (August 2003). "A medical nutriment has supportive value in the treatment of colorectal cancer". Br. J. Cancer 89 (3): 465–9. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6601153. PMC 2394381. PMID 12888813. 
    • Garami M, Schuler D, Babosa M, et al. (October 2004). "Fermented wheat germ extract reduces chemotherapy-induced febrile neutropenia in pediatric cancer patients". J. Pediatr. Hematol. Oncol. 26 (10): 631–5. doi:10.1097/01.mph.0000141897.04996.21. PMID 15454833. 
    • Hidvégi M, Rásó E, Tömösközi-Farkas R, et al. (August 1999). "MSC, a new benzoquinone-containing natural product with antimetastatic effect". Cancer Biother. Radiopharm. 14 (4): 277–89. doi:10.1089/cbr.1999.14.277. PMID 10850313. 
    • Zalatnai A, Lapis K, Szende B, et al. (October 2001). "Wheat germ extract inhibits experimental colon carcinogenesis in F-344 rats". Carcinogenesis 22 (10): 1649–52. doi:10.1093/carcin/22.10.1649. PMID 11577004. 
    • Hidvégi M, Ráso E, Tömösközi-Farkas R, Paku S, Lapis K, Szende B (1998). "Effect of Avemar and Avemar + vitamin C on tumor growth and metastasis in experimental animals". Anticancer Res. 18 (4A): 2353–8. PMID 9703878. 
    • Illmer C, Madlener S, Horvath Z, et al. (February 2005). "Immunologic and biochemical effects of the fermented wheat germ extract Avemar". Exp. Biol. Med. (Maywood) 230 (2): 144–9. PMID 15673563. 
    • Marcsek Z, Kocsis Z, Jakab M, Szende B, Tompa A (December 2004). "The efficacy of tamoxifen in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells is enhanced by a medical nutriment". Cancer Biother. Radiopharm. 19 (6): 746–53. doi:10.1089/cbr.2004.19.746. PMID 15665622. 
    • Fajka-Boja R, Hidvégi M, Shoenfeld Y, et al. (March 2002). "Fermented wheat germ extract induces apoptosis and downregulation of major histocompatibility complex class I proteins in tumor T and B cell lines". Int. J. Oncol. 20 (3): 563–70. doi:10.3892/ijo.20.3.563. PMID 11836569. 
    • Comin-Anduix B, Boros LG, Marin S, et al. (November 2002). "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. 277 (48): 46408–14. doi:10.1074/jbc.+M206150200. PMID 12351627. 
    • Boros LG, Lapis K, Szende B, et al. (August 2001). "Wheat germ extract decreases glucose uptake and RNA ribose formation but increases fatty acid synthesis in MIA pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells". Pancreas 23 (2): 141–7. doi:10.1097/00006676-200108000-00004. PMID 11484916. 
  5. ^ TELEKES, ANDRÁS (June 2005). "Synergistic Effect of Avemar on Proinflammatory Cytokine Production and Ras-Mediated Cell Activation". Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 1051 (1): 515–28. doi:10.1196/annals.1361.096. PMID 16126992. 
  6. ^ a b "Wheat germ extract". Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  7. ^ Lewis, Andy (July 8, 2011). "Quack Aid – The Sunflower Jam". Retrieved 1 October 2013.