I am sure most of you are well aware of the health benefits of Omega 6 and Omega 3. Both are essential fatty acids that our body cannot produce, and so we have to include foods rich in them in our diet. Also, there is omega 9, but as the body can produce it, it is not considered an essential fatty acid.
Now, you can add one more non-essential yet beneficial fatty acid to the omega list with several health benefits, and that is omega 7. It is a lesser known monounsaturated fat that is getting lots of attention these days.
When I heard about omega 7, curiosity bubbled inside of me, and I went through some health journals, health articles, and blogs. Also, I talked to few well-known doctors and nutritionists to learn details about it. What I found is worth sharing, and so I have written this article ‘Top 9 health benefits of omega 7 you should know’. Read the article till the end and get updated with this recent discovery.
What is Omega 7?
The two known Omega 7 fatty acids are palmitoleic acid and vaccenic acid. Recently palmitoleic acid has gained its reputation for treating metabolic syndrome, preventing heart disease and other medical issues. It belongs to the class of unsaturated fatty acids. It is made by our body, but also naturally found in a few plants.
*Omega fats are healthy trans-fats. Trans-fats have a bad reputation for causing inflammation and irritating the arterial linings. But omega 7 fatty acids like vaccenic fatty acid is a form of trans-fat, but they are healthy and have potential health benefits? It is found in dairy products and helps in overcoming inflammation. But yes, make sure not to eat too much of fatty foods to support its action.
Better not to confuse palmitoleic acid with palmitic acid, which is a saturated fat and is a well-known damaging fat that promotes inflammation and increases the risk of heart diseases and contributes to type 2 diabetes.
Contrary to palmitic acid, palmitoleic acid or omega 7 is promising for heart health and digestive system. Several studies conducted on humans show that omega-7 is a potential health booster. Let us get into its detail.
Top 9 health benefits of omega 7
1. Omega 7 balances the level of LDL
LDL or low-density lipoprotein are absorbed through the diet we take, especially a diet that is rich in saturated fats. It is not that our body does not require LDL. LDL is needed by our body in a slight amount in repairing the ruptured endothelial linings that line the inner surface of the blood vessels.
But a significant amount of LDL in our body forms plaque in the blood vessels and blocks them. This increases the risk of cardiac diseases such as hypertension, heart attack, and stroke. This is the reason why LDL has been termed as bad cholesterol. Omega-7 has the property to balance the level of bad cholesterol levels and prevents the formation of plaque as well as ensures the repair of the damaged endothelial cell lining.
2. Omega-7 boosts the level of HDL
On one hand omega-7 balances the level of bad cholesterol, and on the other hand, it increases the level of good cholesterol that is HDL or high-density lipoprotein. HDL breaks down LDL, transports it to the liver from where an excess of LDL is flushed out of the body. In this way, HDL cleanses out excess LDL from arteries. Omega-7 boosts the level of HDL and this, in turn, promotes the elimination of LDL.
3. Omega 7 balances the level of Triglycerides
Our body requires triglycerides for 3 reasons. To provide us energy, to insulate the body and to store vitamins that are fat soluble. But again like LDL, high level of triglycerides increases the risk of heart diseases and fatty liver. Also, it enhances the risk of type 2 diabetes. Omega-7 helps to maintain an equilibrium in the level of triglycerides and thus prevents the health risks.
4. Omega 7 supports the level of C-Reactive Protein
Do you know what C-Reactive protein is? It is an inflammatory marker. When our immune system responses to the noxious disease causing agents there is an inflammatory healing reaction to help your body fight infection. But if there is any kind of abnormality in this process it leads to chronic inflammation and diseases. Chronic inflammation lays the foundation of diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, psoriasis, type-1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
Animal studies show that omega 7 suppresses inflammation and also maintains the level of C-Reactive protein.
5. Omega-7 is a potential treatment for type 2 diabetes
Palmitoleic acid improves the body’s response to insulin. Studies on mice had shown that when Omega 7 was given to the mice having type 2 diabetes, the symptoms of diabetes were reversed. Studies thus prove that omega 7 has the potential to improve insulin resistance and lower the level of blood sugar.
6. Omega 7 for Weight Loss
Have you heard about ghrelin? It is a hunger hormone that is produced by the ghrelinergic cells of the gut when the stomach is empty. Ghrelin causes the hunger feeling and persuades us to eat. When we eat stomach is stretched, and secretion of hunger hormone stops, and we feel satiated. Studies on mice showed that omega 7 inhibits the secretion of ghrelin.
Thus, you feel satiated, and so you eat less. Also, it resists the formation of new fat cells, increases the oxidation of fatty acids and promotes the energy utilization rather than storing fat. Omega 7 halts the unwanted body weight by improving the bowel movements. All these factors reduce the risk of obesity.
7. Omega 7 for skin, nails, and hairs
Omega 7 fights the signs of aging like wrinkles, fine lines, and gray hairs. It provides nourishment to the skin and hair and keeps them moisturized. Thus, omega 7 makes your skin, nails, and hairs glowing, healthy and shiny.
8. Omega 7 fights dryness
If you are suffering from dryness of eyes, dryness of the vaginal mucous membrane, chapped lips and cracked skin then take omega 7. It aids the lubrication channels of the body and keeps the body moisturized inside out.
9. Omega 7 for a healthy gut
Besides the above potential health benefits of omega 7, there are a few important facts about omega-7 sources you should acknowledge.
Facts about Omega 7 sources you should be aware of
- Our body makes Omega 7- Omega 7 is non-essential fatty acid, and our body makes it.
- Sea buckthorn is the richest natural source of Omega 7 but not a good choice- Sea buckthorn is not an ocean plant but a plant growing in high salt conditions. But, Sea buckthorn is also a rich source of vitamin E and vitamin C. Also, it contains laxatives. Getting Omega 7 from Sea Buckthorn will not be a good choice as it causes noticeable changes in your body, for example, dark yellow urine with a strong odor. This type of urine appears when you are dehydrated. The urine may also be red in color. If you take sea buckthorn, you need to drink lots, and lots of water or your bowel movements become painful. Sea buckthorn naturally depletes potassium from your body and lead to irregular heartbeat and muscle weakness.
- Macadamia nuts are a better natural source of Omega 7 but expensive– Eating macadamia nuts for Omega 7 is safe, but you need to count your calories while taking it. But, if you are taking it in lower recommended doses, it is not a big problem. But yes, the high cost of macadamia nuts can resist you from buying it. You can have a handful of macadamia nuts for a day if you can afford. This size serving contains 200 calories
- Non-fat dairy products do not contain Omega 7– Omega 7 fatty acids are present in cheese, yogurt, and liquid milk. It is present in milk products with not less than 2 percent fat milk.
- Other sources of Omega 7– Other sources of omega 7 are egg yolk, avocado, and olive oil. Butter also contains a reasonable amount of palmitoleic acid.
What about omega 7 supplements?
Purified Omega 7 supplements are available in the market. But the question is, are they safe?
Some say that purified Omega 7 supplements are free from palmitic acid, and so are a better option than natural sources of omega 3. But according to some, it will be too soon to opt for omega supplements as not all human research done on palmitoleic acid has given a positive result. Also, the health benefits of omega 7 are not clear cut, so it is better to include natural sources of Omega 7 in your diet rather than overloading the body with omega 7 supplements (keep the fact in mind that body also make omega 7).
What I would suggest is to meet your doctor and nutritionist who, after analyzing your health will recommend the appropriate Omega 7 sources, supplements and doses for you.
This article in not the end of health benefits of Omega 7. I am sure omega 7 has much more to give us. But till date, our knowledge regarding this non-essential fatty acid is limited and more research is going on it. With a promise to update you with all the latest information and future studies, investigations, and results on omega 7, I end this article here.
Stay healthy, stay happy.