Are Omega-7 Fatty Acids Healthy for You?

omega-7Omega-3 fatty acids have attracted a great deal of attention over the years for their ability to promote heart health. A new category of fatty acids known as Omega-7s are now being considered just as important for a number of reasons. Emerging research shows that Omega-7 fatty acids can provide you with some amazing benefits when it comes to losing weight and improving your health.

What are Omega-7 Fatty Acids?

Omega-7 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fat found in certain fishes and oils. They are monounsaturated fats, which are fat molecules that contain only one unsaturated carbon bond. Monounsaturated fats liquefy at room temperature, but turn to a solid mass when chilled. Palmitoleic acid is one of the most common forms of Omega-7, and shows such amazing promise that researchers at Harvard Medical School have applied for a patent on it.  Cis-palmitoleic acid, trans-palmitoleic acid, and vaccenic acid are three very important Omega-7 fatty acids, although there are others.

Palmitoleic Acid Research

According to research from Harvard University, palmitoleic acid is produced by your body’s fat and liver cells. It then travels to other organs of your body, where it protects them against a variety of metabolic processes that have been linked to obesity-related diseases. A study in Japan showed that mice who were given palmitoleic acid experienced less weight gain and had lower triglyceride levels, decreased blood sugar levels, and improved sensitivity to insulin. In humans, this can lead to a decrease in metabolic syndrome, which is a group of abnormalities associated with an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Omega-7s in general offer some additional health benefits, such as:

  • Protecting the stomach and intestines from damage
  • Supporting healthy digestion
  • Promoting healing
  • Improving skin
  • Alleviating chronic dry eye
  • Increasing muscle uptake of glucose for better protein synthesis and muscle gains
  • Enhancing the metabolism to prevent weight gain

Avoid Taking Supplements

Although Omega-7s can provide you with some amazing health benefits, taking supplements is not recommended (unlike Omega-3 supplements). Dr. Michael Roizen, an author and the Chief Wellness Officer at Cleveland Clinic, advises patients not to take sea buckthorn oil as a source of Omega-7. He claims that the plant is also high in palmitic acid, a type of saturated fat that may counteract the health benefits of Omega-7s. Sports nutritionists also claim that supplements are so expensive that taking them is not cost effective. Instead, they recommend adding more mercury-free fish such as salmon, or eating a handful of macadamia nuts each day. If you are already taking a fish or krill oil supplement, you may already be getting enough Omega-7 fatty acids.

Prior to 2008, there had been little research into the health benefits of Omega-7s. Since that time, scientists have discovered some amazing links between Omega-7 fatty acids and good health. Whether you are looking to lose weight, build muscle, or simply improve your health, you should consider adding more food that are rich in Omega-7 to your diet.