Last April I introduced you to Omega-7, the fourth essential fatty acid. At that time there had been no good human studies on it. That has now changed with a 2013 study by a research center in Puerto Rico.
The study, published in August 2014 in the J. Clinical Lipidology, is the first human randomized controlled trial of palmitoleic acid (Omega-7). The researchers selected 60 adult men and women with dyslipidemia (unhealthy blood levels of fats) and divided them into two groups. The experimental group received 220 mg of Omega-7; the control group a placebo capsule of MCT (medium chain triglycerides). Before and after 30 days the participants’ blood levels were tested for lipids and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP, a marker for inflammation).
After the 30 day trial the group taking Omega 7 had significant improvements compared to the controls. Triglycerides were reduced 15%; LDL (the “bad cholesterol”) was reduced 8%; and HDL (the “good cholesterol”) had increased 5%. But the greatest change was in the hsCRP levels which were reduced 44%.
Side effects were rare in this study. Two or three participants in the Omega-7 group experienced gastrointestinal distress and one had a headache during the study period. No adverse effects were noted in the control group.
This is an important study in the research on Omega-7. Previous animal studies and human epidemiological studies found associations between higher blood levels of Omega-7 and improved blood lipid levels, but did not show cause and effect. This study showed that supplementing with Omega 7 will improve blood lipids and reduce inflammation. Other previous studies suggested that Omega-7 could reduce fatty liver and also improve insulin sensitivity (low insulin sensitivity is a risk factor for the development of diabetes). Further research is needed to verify these results.
Omega-7 is abundant in only a few foods: seabuckthorn berries, macadamia nuts and some cold water fish like anchovies and wild salmon. It is available as a supplement from seabuckthorn berry oil and purified fish oil.
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.