Sea buckthorn oil can promote liver health and decrease the storage of body fat
09/01/2018 // Janine Acero // Views

Lesser known fruits and plants have been gradually taking the spotlight in alternative medicine as natural remedies to various health conditions and improving overall nutrition. One study focused on sea buckthorn oil and how it can affect the body when added to a diet.

Fatty acids are primarily energy sources and membrane constituents for the human body. Although various food groups such as fish provide sufficient amounts of fatty acids, plant oils can simultaneously supply numerous regulatory and protective compounds like sterols, tocols, carotenoids, and lipophilic phenolics.

Non-refined oils, such as cold-pressed oils from pumpkin and linseed, are great examples of matrices rich in lipid-soluble bioactive substances. The sea buckthorn (Hippophaë rhamnoides L.) has been found to contain various bioactive substances in all of the plant's parts, which means its oil, leaves, fruit, and bark all have medicinal properties. The oils, in particular, were found to have high concentrations of unsaturated fatty acids, phytosterols and vitamins A and E, which are helpful nutrients for improving overall health.

Scientists from the University of Warmia and Mazury in Poland determined the effects of adding sea buckthorn oil to fodder on the fatty acid composition of the liver and adipose tissue of Wistar rats. The study also investigated the accumulation of retinol and its esters and the ?-tocopherol content in the liver of the tested animals. The findings of the in vivo experiments were published in the journal Plant Foods for Human Nutrition.


For a period of 28 days, the research team fed 24 eight-week-old male rats on modified casein diet. The subjects were divided into three groups, each consisting of eight rats. One group was fed on soybean oil, another on pork lard, and the last one on sea buckthorn oil, as sources of fat.

Analysis showed that the sea buckthorn oil contained extremely high levels of C16 fatty acids (palmitic, oleic, linoleic and palmitoleic) as well as considerable amounts of carotenoids (mainly ?-carotene) and tocopherols (especially ?-tocopherol) compared to the other fat sources.

The findings indicated that palmitoleic acid is preferentially deposited in the liver. There was a significant increase of this acid observed in the liver after the consumption of sea buckthorn oil. In a similar vein, the scientists noted that sea buckthorn oil significantly increased the share of palmitoleic acid as observed in the adipose tissue.

Palmitoleic acid acts as a lipokine, a fatty acid that modulates lipid (fat) metabolism. The findings suggested that sea buckthorn oil may have significant effects in the storage of fat in both the analyzed tissues.

Furthermore, the scientists found the highest level of retinol and its esters in the rat livers from the sea buckthorn oil group.

In total, the presence of sea buckthorn oil in diet resulted in a 40-percent increase in liver saturation with vitamin A-like compounds.

The findings suggested that different types of diet may impact the fatty acid profile of adipose tissue and liver. The sea buckthorn oil, in particular, can affect the fatty acid composition of the analyzed tissues when added to fodder for rats.

The researchers concluded that sea buckthorn oil may contain curative and protective properties for the liver and may improve fat metabolism.

What else is it good for?

The study confirmed the beneficial properties of sea buckthorn oil for the liver, but is that all there is to it? According to, it can help with numerous health concerns, such as:

  • Cardiovascular issues – Sea buckthorn oil has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity and can help balance cholesterol levels in the blood and organs. These properties can help keep the heart healthy. (Related: Sea buckthorn protects your heart, offers antioxidant health benefits.)
  • Digestive problems – Sea buckthorn oil contains around 40 percent palmitoleic acid which has been shown to help prevent or even reverse gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and gastric ulcers, which are two common digestive ailments. The oil does this by soothing and strengthening the mucous membranes which line the inner walls of the stomach, esophagus, and intestines.
  • Skin conditions – Sea buckthorn oil can help heal skin conditions thanks to its unique composition of fatty acids, amino acids, and other nutrients. If you have chronic skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis or rosacea, the oil can help to reduce inflammation and redness. For people with very dry skin or dandruff, the oil can provide deep moisture and improve the strength of the skin on a cellular level. Additionally, the oil can help repair skin damaged by acne, prevent scarring and even fade existing scars by encouraging the regeneration of healthy skin cells.

For more stories on the health benefits of obscure plants and herbs, visit

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