The Sea Buckthorn plant has an unusual concentration of the essential omega-7 fatty acid. Some nutritionists even believe it's the best source of Omega-7 fat that exists.
But why is this important to you?
Well, for starters, omega-7 helps your body maintain itself in a variety of ways, including counteracting weight gain. The discovery of this fact has obviously produced a great amount of interest among medical researchers, and initial surprising research has many predicting that omega-7 may ultimately become a powerful tool in the weight loss battle.
Below, we'll explore the details.
What Are Omega-7 Fats?
The omega fatty acids are polyunsaturated, with the number in their name designating where the carbon double is located: For instance, 7 means the double bond is located at the seventh carbon from the end.
However, all omega fats are important sources of fuel and building blocks for many of the body's components. Sea Buckthorn contains many of the omega fatty acids, but the one that sets it apart from other plants is omega-7.
Omega-7 is rarer than most of the other more popular omega fats and is also known by the name palmitoleic acid. Fish oil has long been used as a good source for it, and it's also supplied by some animal oils and vegetable oils. Omega-7 hardly ever appears in plant products though, with the exceptions of macadamia oil and Sea Buckthorn.
However, Sea Buckthorn pulp oil contains 32-42% omega-7, as shown by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry profiling, which is a very sensitive technology for this purpose1.
This is twice the amount found in the calorie-dense macadamia nut. This makes Sea Buckthorn "the source" of omega-7 fat...by a long shot.
What Are the Known Benefits of Omega-7 Fats?
Omega-7 fats are important to skin cells and cells that line the inside of your gut. Interestingly, Sea Buckthorn has been used for centuries to relieve gastric and small bowel ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems.
In more recent years, elite Hollywood actresses have used Omega-7 fats to rejuvenate the skin and promote healing of dry, cracked skin. It's a powerful source of nourishment for the skin's collagen, strengthening existing skin and repairing injuries.
But if omega-7 fats ever hit it big, it will probably come from new research showing weight loss benefits - in particular their appetite-suppressing effects.
Can Omega-7 Fats Help You Eat Less?
If you're a rat, you'll eat significantly less with omega-7 fats. (By the way, this is a good beginning as rats actually make excellent human models.) In the study we're talking about2, researchers examined short-term food intake in male rats after oral ingestion of omega-7 palmitoleic acid, omega-9 oleic acid, or a placebo.
The palmitoleic acid (omega-7) group exhibited a dose-dependent effect that significantly decreased food intake compared to those that got omega-9 oleic acid and the placebo.
The researchers noted that palmitoleic acid accumulated within the small intestine in a dose-dependent fashion and elevated levels of the hormone cholecystokinin (CCK), which promotes a feeling of fullness. Both protein and mRNA levels (a sign of increased production) of CCK were affected.
The researchers concluded that orally administered omega-7 palmitoleic acid induced satiety and enhanced the release of satiety hormones (CCK) in rats.
Increasing Omega-7 Fats in Your Diet
So how does this translate to us? First, try working omega-7 fats into your diet. This can be done with Sea Buckthorn and macadamia nuts — just be careful and don't overdo it with the nuts.
Sea Buckthorn can be stewed or even eaten raw by adding it to smoothies. Believe it or not, there are even recipes for healthy Sea Buckthorn jellies.
Anyway, give them a try and let us know what you think!
1. Appetite. 2013 Jun;65:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2013.01.009. Epub 2013 Jan 30.
2. PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e34099. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034099.