Omega-7 fatty acids are a class of unsaturated fatty acids in which the site of unsaturation is seven carbon atoms from the end of the carbon chain. The two most common omega-7 fatty acids in nature are palmitoleic acid and vaccenic acid. They are widely used in cosmetics due to their moisturizing properties. Diets rich in omega-7 fatty acids have been shown to have beneficial health effects, such as increasing levels of HDL cholesterol and lowering levels of LDL cholesterol. Omega 7 is not an “essential fatty acid” such as Omegas 3 and 6 but many humans see marked benefits in supplementing with it regularly. Omega 7 is rare. It can be found in trace amounts in numerous sources of fish, nuts, and algae but sea buckthorn is the most abundant source and is readily available in stores and online marketplaces like Amazon.
What are the benefits of Omega 7?
Clinical studies suggest there are may benefits to Dietary supplementation of Omega 7, such as:
Mucus membrane health (These are the linings of the gastrointestinal and urogenital tracts.)
Reduced incidence of diabetes
Lower overall inflammation
Studies have suggested that Omega 7 could be a boon for human health. In the past decade research on the benefits of Omega 7 (usually from sea buckthorn oil) has accelerated looks to provide a solid fundamental foundation of clinical/scholarly support as a tremendously beneficial compound for human health.
Did you know?
Some examples include clinical trials and studies that suggest Omega 7 plays a key role in regulating various physiological systems in animals and humans. A recent clinical trial conducted at Harvard suggests that people with higher circulating Omega 7 (palmitoleic acid) in their blood have a 60% lower chance for developing diabetes, a lower BMI, smaller waist circumference, lower triglycerides and lower inflammation in the body. Additionally, a recent trial at the Cleveland Clinic has shown supplementing with Omega 7 correlates with a substantial (44%) drop in CRP (C-reactive protein), a measure of overall inflammation that correlates with higher incidence of cardiovascular disease.
As stated above, the best known source of Omega 7 is sea buckthorn oil. This tiny berry that grows predominantly in Asia and Europe is harvested from both wild and cultivated sources, the best of which is found at high-elevation in the regions surrounding the Himalayan mountain range in India and China, Tibet, Mongolia and Bhutan. Other sources include various fish, nuts, and algae but most of these sources do not have abundant levels of omega 7 and some require a pretty chemical-laden process of “purification” to extract enough of the compound to be of any benefit in a supplement. No one is going to eat a bucket of macadamia nuts or 100 anchovies to obtain what a small 1-gram serving of sea buckthorn oil provides.
Sea buckthorn is also known by these other names:
Hippophae rhamnoides (botanical name)
Sea Berry (only a few of the 30+ varietals actually grow by the sea)
Himalayas — Where Sea Buckthorn Berries are commonly grown
Sea Buckthorn Berries growing in the wild
What are the best Omega 7 Products?
Sea Buckthorn Sourced VS Fish
Omega 7 products are comprised of mainly 2 key sources of omega 7 – coming from either sea buckthorn oil or purified fish oil. The sea buckthorn oil source is typically a pure cold-pressed or supercritical CO2 extraction of pure oil from the pulp of the berry. This is a clean, potent source with little to no harm cause to the material or the environment, as sea buckthorn is largely harvested in a sustainable method. Purified fish oil like the proprietary ingredient called “Provinal” provide a decent amount of omega 7 but the process is problematic and the source can be very detrimental to our environment (overfishing, chemical processes, etc). It’s also about 2-3 times more expensive than sea buckthorn for an equal dosage of omega 7. We don’t recommend it.
Which products should I avoid?
Adulterated products are more common then you think
Below we list 5 recommended products and 5 more we suggest consumers avoid. In general, avoid purified fish oil (the proprietary “Provinal” ingredient). It is not a good source for dietary supplementation of omega 7. We recommend sea buckthorn oil with 1 HUGE caveat – diligently research the company/brand and the source. Ask for lab analyses of the omega 7 content. As sea buckthorn has become a popular botanical oil extract (which is also used in topical cosmetics and skincare products), adulterated sources have popped up all over the place, especially on Amazon! We have tested about a dozen products at a lab for analysis of omega 7 content and found that at least ½ are adulterated or claiming to have up to 80-90 time more omega 7 than is actually in the product. We recommend only purchasing sea buckthorn OIL (not powder) and only from reputable companies with a history of honest, lab-verified claims and ingredient sources.
Fish Sourced Omega 7
Decent amount of Omega 7
Typically detrimental to the environment
Typically uses chemical processing
Generally more expensive
Sea Buckthorn Sourced Omega 7
Potent in Omega 7
Good oil is cold-pressed or supercritical CO2 extracted
Easier for the body to use
Typically sustainability harvested
Typically no harm to the environment
6 Best Omega 7 Supplements
Sibu Omega-7 Soft-gels
Desert Alpine SBT oil
Desert Alpine soft-gels
6 Least Recommended Products
6 worst Omega 7 products:
China-sourced powder – (NusaPure/Navasana/e-Squared/Mental Refreshment)
New Chapter Provinol products – (Cardia 7, Health’s Harmony, Life Extension, etc)
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any negative side effects of Omega 7?
Not for healthy individuals. A Dr may ask you to avoid strong anti-oxidants when undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment or avoid supplements with a lot of vitamin e (which sea buckthorn has) when taking prescription blood-thinners. If you have any question at all, consult your physician.
What is Palmitic acid and should I be concerned?
Palmitic acid is the most abundant fatty acid on Earth! It’s in many, many food sources. It is unavoidable. Most Americans consumer way too much, though some palmitic acid in the diet is mandatory for good health. A typical 1-gram dose of sea buckthorn oil contains less than 1% of the palmitic acid the World Health Organization recommends humans consume daily. About the same amount that is contained in a carrot. So the amount of palmitic acid in sea buckthorn is completely negligible.
What is “purified Omega 7”?
The only source of purified omega 7 we are aware of is called Provinal and is from purified fish oil. We do not recommend it, as it is 2-3 times more expensive for the same dosage of omega 7 you get from a high-quality sea buckthorn supplement. The purification process isn’t very environmentally friendly and any source that comes from fish also may contribute to sustainability issues.
Can I use sea buckthorn oil in cooking? (recipes)
Absolutely, in sauces, dressings, ice-cream and other deserts. We don’t recommend cooking with sea buckthorn oil in place of olive oil or canola oil in, for example, a frying pan. We are unaware of it’s suitability in high-heat cooking.
What is the proper dosing?
A good typical dose is 1-gram per day (1000 milligrams) of sea buckthorn oil. However, this is highly variable, as we have tested many products that had little to know actual omega 7, so check your source of product diligently and ask for a 3rd party lab analysis to verify omega 7 content. We prefer Sibu, as they have built an entire company around this particular botanical and readily provide 3rd party verification on omega 7 content.
Can I use sea buckthorn pulp in cooking? (recipes)
YES! In fact we are experiencing a kind of coming-out party for this diminutive orange berry. Sea Buckthorn berries and pulp are being used in numerous Michelin-star rated restaurants in Europe and N America. The flavor is very complex and pairs well in desserts, sauces, and marinares.
Is Omega 7 / sea buckthorn oil good for kids?
We always recommend checking with a physician/pediatrician prior to a child taking any dietary supplements, but there are no known risks to children of any age.
Does Omega 7 help topically?
Not exactly. Omega fatty acids do not penetrate the barrier of human skin so they don’t offer benefits when used topically. However, sea buckthorn oil has become quite popular in high-end cosmetics and skincare products. It’s expensive used this way so most products do not have much, though there are entire brands built around this key skincare ingredient. We like Sibu, Sea Berry Therapy.
Other benefits of sea buckthorn?
There are many! Sea Buckthorn is an antioxidant powerhouse, so in addition to it being the best source of omega 7. Consumed, it helps fight inflammation, helps the skin retain more moisture (thus looking more youthful and fending off the effects of age and sun-damage) and may help fight against certain diseases. Used topically it’s a fantastic anti-aging ingredient, naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial, and a fabulous skin-hydrating ingredient.
Is there a risk of overdose?
There is no known risk of overdose and no known contra-indications, though we recommend talking to your doctor if you’re being treated with chemotherapy for cancer or blood-thinners for anti-clotting measures. This is because of the high levels of antioxidant compounds and vitamin-e in sea buckthorn.