Pumpkin Seed OilJuly 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)
Tags: Hair, Menopause, Prostate
Posted in Men's Health, Nutritional Supplements, Women's Health