Maybe you’ve heard of omega-3s, but there’s another kind of fatty acid that’s available in dietary supplements: omega-7s, a type of unsaturated fat your body makes. Omega-7s are considered non-essential fatty acids, meaning your body can make enough omega-7s to function properly. In other words, you don’t need to get them from foods or supplements. However, if you search for omega-7 supplements on the Internet, you’ll find pages of results of articles and online retailers purporting the beneficial effects of omega-7 fatty acids (particularly from sea buckthorn oil), such as for heart, digestive, and liver health, immune support, weight loss, detoxification, glucose (blood sugar) metabolism, hydration of mucous membranes, and healthy skin, hair, and nails.

One of the most common forms of omega-7s is palmitoleic acid, which also is found in a few foods, including macadamia, sea buckthorn, and some fish, such as salmon and cod. In the body, palmitoleic acid plays a role in fat metabolism, and research suggests it also might have a role in insulin sensitivity and cholesterol metabolism. However, data are mixed on how the palmitoleic acid made in your body impacts your health.

With regard to supplemental omega-7, a limited amount of research using isolated cells and animals suggests that an external source of palmitoleic acid (by mouth in a dietary supplement or by injection) can increase fatty-acid breakdown and energy expenditure, reduce weight gain and food intake, and improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. But there hasn’t been enough research on either omega-7 or palmitoleic acid supplements in humans to to determine if they’re effective. As a result, no recommended dose or source of omega-7s or palmitoleic acid has been established so far.

Updated 12 March 2019

References

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