Pumpkin Seed Oil

July 20, 2014 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

The number of scientific studies devoted to specific natural remedies and traditional foods is difficult to predict. For instance, it’s possible to have a few to several studies published in one year and then virtually nothing more for another decade. Certainly, this is partially due to economics. Big cash crops and patented products tend to receive more scientific attention because of funding and financial interests. On the other hand, more generic herbs and nutraceuticals often fall into the previously mentioned, erratic pattern of research. Pumpkin seed oil is an example of the latter.

Historically, pumpkin seeds have primarily been utilized as a natural remedy for urogenital disorders. In fact, if you visit your local health food store and look for products containing pumpkin seed oil (PSO), you’ll typically find them in sections relating to prostate health and urinary function. On occasion, they may also be located in the antioxidant and essential fatty acid category of supplements. Over the past few decades, there have been some preliminary studies suggesting that PSO may be appropriately categorized in all of these areas. For instance, chemical examinations of PSO reveal that it contains a wide array of antioxidants and healthy fats, including carotenoids, monounsaturated fatty acids and tocopherols or Vitamin E. What’s more, research dating back more than a decade supports the use of PSO in natural supplements used to address enlarged prostate symptoms. Still, that was then. This is now.

The exciting and unexpected news about PSO, is that two randomized, placebo-controlled studies have been published in the last few months. The first, provides the best evidence to date that PSO truly affects urinary function in a positive way. Specifically, a group of Japanese researchers report that 10 grams/daily of PSO significantly reduces overactive bladder symptoms. Typically, PSO is sold in 1 gram softgels. However, 10 grams of PSO can be easily acquired by using a liquid PSO product or by eating a few ounces of pumpkin seeds. Another promising trial indicates that a much lower dosage of PSO (400 mg/day) improves hair counts by 40% in men with male pattern baldness or androgenic alopecia. Of note, no adverse effects were documented in this 24 week study. Lastly, an older trial from 2011 reveals a new and novel use of PSO for women. The 12 week study found that supplementing with 2 grams of PSO daily increased the level of HDL (“good”) cholesterol and lowered diastolic blood pressure in menopausal women, while at the same time reducing the severity of headaches, hot flashes and joint pain. This new, and relatively new, research will hopefully open the flood gates for much more PSO investigation in the months and years to come.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 - Chemical Composition and Functional Characterisation of Commercial (link)

Study 2 - Tocopherol from Seeds of Cucurbita Pepo Against Diabetes: Validation (link)

Study 3 - Characteristics of Antioxidant Activity & Composition of Pumpkin Seed … (link)

Study 4 - Phytosterol, Squalene, Tocopherol Content and Fatty Acid Profile of (link)

Study 5 – Pumpkin Seed Oil Extracted From Cucurbita Maxima Improves Urinary … (link)

Study 6 - World’s Healthiest Foods: What’s New and Beneficial About Pumpkin (link)

Study 7 - Effect of Pumpkin Seed Oil on Hair Growth in Men and Androgenetic (link)

Study 8 – Effects of Pumpkin Seed Oil & Saw Palmetto Oil in Korean Men with (link)

Study 9 - The Role of Phytotherapy in Treating Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (link)

Study 10 - Improvement in HDL Cholesterol in Postmenopausal Women (link)

Pumpkin Seed Oil Improves Overactive Bladder Symptoms

Source: J Tradit Complement Med. 2014 Jan;4(1):72-4. (link)

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Posted in Men's Health, Nutritional Supplements, Women's Health

7 Comments & Updates to “Pumpkin Seed Oil”

  1. Gianfranco F. Says:

    John Paul,

    It is refreshing to find your validation for this valuable seeds that give the user so many benefits at low cost!

    Great job!

    Paul

  2. JP Says:

    Thank you, Gianfranco!

    Be well!

    JP

  3. JP Says:

    Update: Pumpkin seed oil benefits men with symptoms relating to an enlarged prostate …

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25252490

    J Pak Med Assoc. 2014 Jun;64(6):683-5.

    Pumpkin seed oil (prostafit) or prazosin? Which one is better in the treatment of symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia.

    OBJECTIVE: To assess the efficacy of drugs containing herbal extracts in the treatment of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia.

    METHODS: The clinical trial study was performed in 2011-2012 at Imam Reza Hospital, Mashhad, Iran. One hundred patients with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia were randomly divided into 2 equal groups receiving prostafit and prazosin, respectively. Quality of life and International Prostatic Symptom Score questionnaire were filled and prostate specific antigen level, uroflowmetry and prostate volume were measured at baseline, 3 and 6 months after the medication. The data was analysed using SPSS 15 and repeated measure analysis of variance.

    RESULTS: No complications were observed during and after the treatment. International Prostatic Symptom Score had significant differences at baseline and 6 months after the treatment in both groups, specially in group 2 18 vs 22 (36% versus 44%). Quality of life was better in group 2, 25.5 vs 31.5 (51% versus 63%). prostate specific antigen level did not change after the treatment and there was no remarkable difference in either group.

    CONCLUSION: Prostafit is an effective and safe treatment in Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia but not as much as prozasin.

    Be well!

    JP

  4. JP Says:

    Update: Pilates supports urinary continence after prostate surgery …

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25809925

    Neurourol Urodyn. 2015 Mar 21.

    Is pilates as effective as conventional pelvic floor muscle exercises in the conservative treatment of post-prostatectomy urinary incontinence? A randomised controlled trial.

    AIMS: To verify the efficacy of a Pilates exercise program compared to conventional pelvic floor muscle exercise (PFME) protocol in the conservative treatment of post-prostatectomy urinary incontinence (PPUI).

    METHODS: Baseline assessment was performed four weeks postoperatively and included 24 hr pad test, bladder diary, and the ICIQ-SF. Patients were randomised into three groups: Pilates (G1), PFME combined with anal electrical stimulation (G2), and a control group (G3). Both treatment groups had to perform 10 weekly treatment sessions. Primary outcomes were mean reduction of daily pads and mean reduction of ICIQ-SF score four months after surgery. The significance level was set at P <  0.05.

    RESULTS: 85 patients completed the study. Differences between treatment groups (G1 and G2) in terms of mean reduction in daily pad usage, 24 hr pad test, and ICIQ-SF scores were not statistically significant (P > 0.05). The control group differed from G1 in daily pad usage (P = 0.01) and ICIQ-SF score (P = 0.0073). Intergroup comparisons revealed that 57.7% of the volunteers in G1 and 50% of the individuals from G2 no longer used pads by the end of the treatment period (P = 0.57). In the control group, 22.6% were not using pads four months after surgery, with statistical difference compared to G1 (P < 0.05).

    CONCLUSIONS: The Pilates exercise program proved to be as effective as conventional PFME to speed up continence recovery in PPUI. It also achieved a higher rate of fully continent patients when compared to the control group in the short-term.

    Be well!

    JP

  5. JP Says:

    Update 05/26/15:

    http://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/362903

    Urol Int. 2015;94(3):286-95.

    Effects of Pumpkin Seed in Men with Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms due to Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia in the One-Year, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled GRANU Study.

    INTRODUCTION: The German Research Activities on Natural Urologicals (GRANU) study was a randomized, partially blinded, placebo-controlled, parallel-group trial that investigated the efficacy of pumpkin seed in men with lower urinary tract symptoms suggestive of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH/LUTS).

    SUBJECTS AND METHODS: A total of 1,431 men (50-80 years) with BPH/LUTS were randomly assigned to either pumpkin seed (5 g b.i.d.), capsules with pumpkin seed extract (500 mg b.i.d.) or matching placebo. The primary response criterion was a decrease in International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) of ≥5 points from baseline after 12 months. Secondary outcome measures included IPSS-related quality of life, IPSS single items and diary-recorded nocturia.

    RESULTS: After 12 months, the response rate (intention-to-treat/last-observation-carried-forward approach) did not differ between pumpkin seed extract and placebo. In the case of pumpkin seed (responders: 58.5%), the difference compared with placebo (responders: 47.3%) was descriptively significant. The study products were well tolerated. Overall, in men with BPH, 12 months of treatment with pumpkin seed led to a clinically relevant reduction in IPSS compared with placebo.

    CONCLUSION: In order to fully justify a recommendation for the use of pumpkin seed to treat moderate LUTS, these findings need to be substantiated in a confirmatory study or systematic review.

    Be well!

    JP

  6. JP Says:

    Update 06/06/15:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26010505

    Australas J Dermatol. 2015 May 25.

    Treatment of male androgenetic alopecia with topical products containing Serenoa repens extract.

    BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Male androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is a common hair problem. Serenoa repens extract has been shown to inhibit both types of 5-α reductase and, when taken orally, has been shown to increase hair growth in AGA patients. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of topical products containing S. repens extract for the treatment of male AGA.

    METHODS: This was a pilot, prospective, open, within-subject comparison limited to 24 weeks using no placebo controls. In all, 50 male volunteers aged between 20 and 50 years received topical S. repens products for 24 weeks. The primary end-point was a hair count in an area of 2.54 cm2 at week 24. Secondary end-points included hair restoration, investigators’ photographic assessment, patients’ evaluation and discovering adverse events.

    RESULTS: The average hair count and terminal hair count increased at weeks 12 and 24 compared to baseline. Some of these positive results levelled off at week 24, presumably because the concentrated topical product containing S. repens extract was stopped after 4 weeks. The patients were satisfied with the products and the side-effects were limited.

    CONCLUSIONS: The topical application of S. repens extract could be an alternative treatment in male pattern baldness in male patients who do not want or cannot tolerate the side-effects of standard medications, but the use of a concentrated S. repens product beyond 4 weeks may be necessary for sustained efficacy.

    Be well!

    JP

  7. JP Says:

    Updated 09/26/15:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26405765

    PLoS One. 2015 Sep 25;10(9):e0139196.

    Replacement of Dietary Saturated Fat by PUFA-Rich Pumpkin Seed Oil Attenuates Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Atherosclerosis Development, with Additional Health Effects of Virgin over Refined Oil.

    BACKGROUND AND AIMS: As dietary saturated fatty acids are associated with metabolic and cardiovascular disease, a potentially interesting strategy to reduce disease risk is modification of the quality of fat consumed. Vegetable oils represent an attractive target for intervention, as they largely determine the intake of dietary fats. Furthermore, besides potential health effects conferred by the type of fatty acids in a vegetable oil, other minor components (e.g. phytochemicals) may also have health benefits. Here, we investigated the potential long-term health effects of isocaloric substitution of dietary fat (i.e. partial replacement of saturated by unsaturated fats), as well as putative additional effects of phytochemicals present in unrefined (virgin) oil on development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and associated atherosclerosis. For this, we used pumpkin seed oil, because it is high in unsaturated fatty acids and a rich source of phytochemicals.

    METHODS: ApoE*3Leiden mice were fed a Western-type diet (CON) containing cocoa butter (15% w/w) and cholesterol (1% w/w) for 20 weeks to induce risk factors and disease endpoints. In separate groups, cocoa butter was replaced by refined (REF) or virgin (VIR) pumpkin seed oil (comparable in fatty acid composition, but different in phytochemical content).

    RESULTS: Both oils improved dyslipidaemia, with decreased (V)LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels in comparison with CON, and additional cholesterol-lowering effects of VIR over REF. While REF did not affect plasma inflammatory markers, VIR reduced circulating serum amyloid A and soluble vascular adhesion molecule-1. NAFLD and atherosclerosis development was modestly reduced in REF, and VIR strongly decreased liver steatosis and inflammation as well as atherosclerotic lesion area and severity.

    CONCLUSIONS: Overall, we show that an isocaloric switch from a diet rich in saturated fat to a diet rich in unsaturated fat can attenuate NAFLD and atherosclerosis development. Phytochemical-rich virgin pumpkin seed oil exerts additional anti-inflammatory effects resulting in more pronounced health effects.

    Be well!

    JP

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