Most people are familiar with omega 3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA as found in fish oils.  A class of fatty acids known as omega 7’s are not as broadly recognized but have been found to be very beneficial to our health.   Palmitoleic and vaccenic are two of the omega 7 fatty acids with palmitoleic acid being the most studied and seemingly having the most therapeutic effect.  

       Palmitoleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid that is present in all body tissue with higher concentrations in the liver.  It can be synthesized in the body from palmitic acid.  The best source for omega 7 is macadamia nuts and berries from the sea buckthorn plant that grows in Europe and Asia.  Most research on omega 7 has been done using sea buckthorn which can contain up to 40% palmitoleic acid.

       After extensive research, a CO2 extract of sea buckthorn oil was developed in Finland in 1997 and marketed as SBA24.  This product has been shown to benefit the mucous membranes of the stomach, intestinal and urinary tract and moisturize the hair, skin, nails and eyes.  Other research has shown omega 7 to increase insulin sensitivity and inhibit the destruction of insulin-secreting pancreatic beta cells.  Therefore, omega 7 appears to provide for better glucose management.

       Additional studies have demonstrated Omega 7’s help to raise HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol.  In a study done at the Cleveland Clinic, omega-7 supplementation was shown to increase HDL after just 8 to 12 weeks.  This same study demonstrated a reduction in the size of atherosclerotic plaque in the aorta by 47%.  A British study reported a 20% increase in HDL in just eight weeks when supplementing with sea buckthorn.

       Omega 7’s appear to increase the body’s use of fatty acids for energy with the result being less fat stored as triglycerides.  Research also has shown that omega 7 improves cardiovascular health by nutritionally supporting the integrity of the endothelia cells that line the arterial system. Omega 7 fatty acids are the predominant fatty acid in epithelial cell membranes. They appear to be very important to protecting the body’s cell membranes from oxidative damage.

       Research done with omega 7 palmitoleic acid indicates this acid works as a signaling molecule used by enzymes in the oxidation of body fat.  Continuing research is being done to determine the usefulness of palmitoleic acid in weight loss. In a 2011 study entitled “Lipids in Health and Disease,” it was reported that palmitoleic acid reduced body weight increase, lessened the development of high blood sugar and triglycerides and improved insulin sensitivity.

       In a study were animals were fed diets rich in omega-7, it was shown that there was significant increases in stomach and intestinal hormones that promote the feeling of fullness while at the same time producing a decrease in hunger-promoting hormones. This resulted in a significant reduction in the amount of food eaten by the animals.

       Omega-7’s are best known for their beautifying effects on the body.  They play a role in how shiny the hair is, how glowing the skin appears and how healthy the nails are. Because improvements in the health of hair, skin and nails are commonly reported when taking a sea buckthorn product high in Omega-7, some see supplementation with omega 7 as a way to slow down the signs of aging such as wrinkles, dryness and loss of the skins elasticity.

       At Milk ‘N Honey we carry omega 7 products from the companies New Chapter and EuroPharma.  Both of these brands are of high quality and provide omega 7 from sea buckthorn.