Does Wheat Germ Have Gluten?

Last Updated on April 1, 2022

Today, we’re going to be answering the question: does wheat germ have gluten? And take a look at some gluten-free wheat germ substitutes you may like to consider adding to your diet. But first, let’s take a look at what wheat germ is. And then we can determine whether or not it’s gluten-free.

What Is Wheat Germ?

You’ll likely know what wheat is, but you may be unfamiliar with wheat germ. Well, it’s deliciously nutty and also extremely nutritious.

A standard wheat kernel consists of 3 parts. Those 3 parts are the endosperm, the bran, and the germ. Each part is full of different elements of goodness, including vitamins, minerals, fibers, and antioxidants – to name a few! As the germ is at the heart of the kernel, it’s said to be the best part you can eat.

Read more about: Substitutions For Wheat Bran; Are There Any Gluten-Free Wheat Bran Options?

What Does Wheat Germ Taste Like?

Wheat germ tastes very much like wheat, just more intense in flavor. It has a nutty, earthy taste with a toasted flavor undertone. The fresher the wheat germ is, the tastier it is – so be sure to store it correctly. Keep raw wheat germ in an airtight container in the refrigerator for best results.

Ways To Use Wheat Germ

Whether you’re looking to add texture to your favorite dish, add a little extra flavor, or are simply making an effort to be more nutritious, there are plenty of ways to incorporate wheat germ into your diet. Here are some ideas on how to use wheat germ:

  • soups
  • casseroles
  • stews
  • breads
  • granola bars
  • oatmeal
  • cookies
  • smoothies
  • meatloaf
  • muesli

Health Benefits Of Wheat Germ

Although we can’t add wheat germ to our diet, there are plenty of benefits of adding it to your diet for those who can. Wheat germ sports a huge range of health benefits. Let’s take a closer look.

  • Maintain a Healthy Body. Wheat germ is full of vitamins and minerals that help our bodies to function as they should. Zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and manganese are all in wheat germ. These help to support your immune system, keep your heart healthy, your bones strong, and even repair tissue!
  • Aids Digestion. Wheat germ is high in dietary fiber. If you’re looking to improve your bowel movements, wheat germ is great in helping to keep them regular and healthy. Fiber is also good for cholesterol levels
  • Energy. Wheat germ is full of vitamins that give you energy and keep you feeling fuller for longer
  • Immunity. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that aids to protect your body. Damage to certain cells can cause serious illnesses such as heart disease, and cancer. Wheat germ can help to strengthen this protection
  • Keeps You Strong. Wheat germ is a source of protein. While it may only be a plant-based protein, it’s still good for keeping you strong and giving you muscle strength.

Wheat Germ Gluten Free Substitutes

If you’re looking for an alternative to wheat germ to add to your diet, there are a few gluten-free substitutes you may want to try. Let’s take a look at the best options.

Gluten Free Oat Bran

As we saw earlier, bran is part of a kernel; in this case, the oat kernel. Oats are naturally gluten-free. However, due to methods such as milling and harvesting, there’s a huge chance of cross-contact – so be sure to opt for oat bran that carries a gluten-free label, or makes gluten-free claims.

Oat Bran

In terms of nutrition and texture, it’s almost identical to wheat germ. For protein and fiber, gluten-free oat bran is a perfect choice.

Read more about: Substitutions For Oat Bran

Sunflower Seeds (Ground)

Sunflower seeds are naturally gluten-free and incredibly good for you. In fact, they contain less carbs than wheat germ – but the same amount of protein! However, they are much higher in fat, so be sure not to add too much to your diet. In terms of texture, sunflower seeds are very similar to wheat germ.

Flax (Ground)

Ground flax is another perfect alternative. If you’re looking for that earthy, nutty flavor to replace wheat germ – look no further. It’s even a similar color to wheat germ! Much like sunflower seeds, ground flax is also more nutritious than wheat germ.

Flax (Ground)


I hope this article has helped to answer the question: does wheat germ have gluten? And give you plenty of gluten-free alternatives to wheat germ to add to your diet. While wheat germ may be versatile and delicious, it simply can not be added to a gluten-free diet. Try using one of our substitute suggestions and let us know how they fare!

Do you know of any other gluten-free alternatives to the wheat germ that didn’t make the list? If so, please feel free to let me know in the comments below. You may introduce me to something completely new. Sharing is caring!

*You can find the full list here.


Is Wheat Germ Safe For Celiacs?

Absolutely not. As wheat germ is a main part of the wheat kernel, it is absolutely not safe for celiacs and should be avoided when following a gluten free diet. On the Celiac website, it's listed on their Unsafe Non Gluten Free List.*

Can You Have Wheat Germ if You Are Gluten Free?

If you have celiac disease or are gluten intolerant - you should avoid wheat germ. This is because it contains gluten and can be incredibly harmful to our bodies. However, if you're living on a gluten free diet by choice, it doesn't matter if you would like to treat yourself to wheat germ in your dishes every so often.

Does Wheat Starch Have Gluten?

While the amount of gluten in wheat starch is very low, it is said it's best to avoid wheat starch if you're gluten intolerant or live with celiac disease. If the wheat starch is labelled as "gluten free wheat starch", this means that the gluten has been removed and is safe to eat when following a gluten free diet. However, I tend to avoid all wheat starch.