Categories: nutritions

Oat Straw Extract (Avena sativa): Benefits, Downsides, and Uses


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Oat straw comes from the unripened Avena sativa plant, which is commonly grown in Northern Europe and North America (1).

As an extract, oat straw is often sold as a tincture but can also be found in powder and capsule form.

It’s believed to offer numerous health benefits, such as reduced inflammation and improved brain function and mood (2).

This article reviews oat straw extract and its potential benefits.

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Avena sativa, or common oat, is a species of cereal grass known for its highly nutritious seeds (1, 3).

While its mature seeds are what become the oats you buy, oat straw extract comes from its stems and leaves, which are harvested earlier while the grass is still green (2).

Oat straw extract goes by many names, including green oat and wild oat extracts.

It’s high in iron, manganese, and zinc, though its nutrient composition can vary by brand (3).

The extract is claimed to offer many health benefits, including improvements in brain health, insomnia, stress, and physical and sexual performance. However, not all of these benefits are supported by research.

summary

Oat straw extract comes from the stems and leaves of the unripened Avena sativa plant and is high in iron, manganese, and zinc. While it has been reported to offer numerous benefits, not all of them are supported by research.

While many benefits have been linked to oat straw extract, only a few have been studied.

May improve blood flow

Research shows that impaired blood flow is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke (4, 5, 6).

Green oat extract contains a unique group of antioxidants called avenanthramides, which have been shown to improve heart health (7, 8).

In particular, they may improve blood flow by increasing the production of nitric oxide, a molecule that helps dilate blood vessels (4, 5).

One 24-week study in 37 older adults with excess weight found that supplementing with 1,500 mg of oat straw extract daily significantly improved measures of blood flow in the heart and brain, compared with a placebo (4).

While research shows that oat straw extract may help maintain a healthy heart, more long-term studies are needed to fully understand its effects.

May reduce inflammation

Chronic inflammation has been shown to increase your risk of conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers (9).

Oat straw extract is rich in many antioxidants, including avenanthramides, which have been shown to help reduce inflammation, thereby decreasing your risk of these illnesses (4, 7).

Additionally, test-tube studies indicate that avenanthramides from oats can reduce the production and secretion of cytokines, which are proinflammatory compounds that are linked to an increased risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions (10, 11).

May boost brain function

Oat straw extract may help boost brain function in older adults.

Two studies in older adults with impaired brain function found that supplementing with 800–1,600 mg of green oat extract significantly improved memory, attention, and concentration (12, 13).

However, these studies were funded by the company that created the supplement, which may have influenced these findings.

Another 12-week study in 36 healthy adults with normal brain function observed that supplementing with 1,500 mg of green oat extract daily did not change measures of attention, memory, task focus, accuracy, or multi-tasking performance (14).

Overall, current research on oat straw extract and brain function is limited, and it has not been shown to benefit adults with normal brain function.

May improve mood

Traditionally, oat straw extract has been used to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression (15).

While research is limited, some studies suggest that the extract may improve mood by inhibiting the enzyme phosphodiesterase type 4 (PDE4), which is found in immune cells (2).

Research suggests that inhibiting PDE4 may reduce stress, anxiety, and depression (16, 17).

Additionally, oat straw extract may reduce levels of proinflammatory cytokines, which may be involved in the development of depression and other psychiatric disorders (7, 18, 19).

One rat study found that a low dose of green oat extract over seven weeks significantly improved the animals’ ability to cope and react to stress, compared with a placebo (2).

However, these results have not been replicated in humans.

summary

Oat straw extract may improve blood flow and some aspects of brain function in older adults. Additionally, test-tube and rat studies indicate that it may reduce inflammation and improve mood, but more human studies are needed to confirm these effects.

Oat straw extract has not been linked to any major side effects or medication interactions, but research on its safety is limited (3).

Additionally, the extract has not been studied in children or women who are pregnant or nursing, so it’s unclear whether this supplement is safe to use in these populations.

Like any supplement, consult your healthcare provider before taking oat straw extract to ensure proper safety.

What’s more, while oat straw is naturally gluten-free, there may be a risk of cross-contamination during processing. Those needing to avoid gluten should only buy oat straw extract that is certified gluten-free.

summary

While oat straw extract is considered to be generally safe, evidence on its safety for children or during pregnancy and breastfeeding is lacking. If you have to avoid gluten, only buy oat straw extract that’s certified gluten-free.

Oat straw extract can be purchased online and from health food stores.

You can find it in a variety of forms, including capsules, powders, and tinctures.

Research indicates that dosages of 800–1,600 mg per day are most effective (4, 12, 13).

Still, dosing amounts can vary by product and individual needs.

Additionally, research on its safety and efficacy is limited. More human studies are needed to determine safe dosing recommendations and whether the extract is effective.

While oat straw extract is considered safe for most people, it’s best to discuss its use with your healthcare provider.

summary

Oat straw extract is available in several forms, including powders, capsules, and tinctures. While research has shown 800–1,600 mg per day to be most effective, the exact dosage can vary by individual needs and products.

Oat straw extract comes from the stems and leaves of the unripened Avena sativa plant.

Human studies indicate that it may improve brain function in older adults and heart health.

Moreover, test-tube and animal studies suggest that it may reduce chronic inflammation and boost mood.

While these potential benefits are promising, more research is needed to understand its full effect in humans.



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