Pumpkin seed oil is very rich in beneficial fatty acids, antioxidants like Vitamin E, beta-carotene and zeaxanthin, and compounds such as phytosterols and delta-7-sterine that have many health benefits. It is a dark green oil, sometimes seen as dark red/brown in certain light and thicker concentrations, with a rich nutty flavor.
High quality pumpkin seed oil is often used as a salad dressing mixed with fresh lemon juice or a good apple cider vinegar. It can also be used to add flavor and nutrition to soups, sauces and many other recipes. It should not, however, be used as an oil for frying or in baking as high temperatures can damage its structure.
Pumpkin Seed Oil and BPH
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition that affects many men around the world, particularly men over 50. BPH is believed to be due to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) promoting proliferation of prostate cells. This results in an enlargement of the prostate gland and can lead to problems and discomfort when urinating.
The phytosterol beta-sitosterol is found in significant concentrations in pumpkin seed oil and helps block the damaging effects of DHT by inhibiting its conversion from testosterone. Pumpkin seed oil also contains the compound delta-7-sterine that specifically competes with DHT in the prostate and seems to help prevent prostate cell multiplication.
Alongside these two DHT blockers, pumpkin seed oil contains high levels of antioxidant carotenoids, omega-6 and omega 9 fatty acids and zinc, all of which may help reduce a man’s risk of developing BPH and this study found pumpkin seed oil supplementation reduced symptoms and pain for men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Pumpkin Seed Oil and Hair Loss
Both an enlarged prostate and male pattern baldness are believed to result, at least in large part, from an overproduction of DHT. The same beta-sitosterol, delta-7-sterine (and perhaps yet unidentified compounds) in pumpkin seed oil that reduces DHT’s affect on the prostate cells, may also help prevent it having a negative affect on our hair follicles.
I’ve even heard of people recommending applying pumpkin seed oil directly to the scalp for its DHT blocking properties. I must admit though, the bright green scalp look isn’t really for me so I’ve never tried this. Taking raw pumpkin seed oil by the spoonful or drizzled over a salad seems much more enjoyable.
Pumpkin Seed Oil for Intestinal Parasites
Pumpkin seed oil has been traditionally used as a treatment for intestinal parasites. Taken on an empty stomach, preferably first thing in the morning, it seems to have the unusual ability to paralyze parasites like the common tapeworm.
Importantly, this paralysis is temporary and is therefore followed with a laxative such as castor oil an hour later so the worms can be expelled in a bowel movement. Without a bowel movement they will recover.
It is generally recommended to continue this treatment for several days, with several days break and then repeat over the course of a couple of weeks.
Intestinal parasites are tenacious little things that can have a very negative effect on your health and energy and it seems many people are unknowingly infected with them. If you suspect a problem, consult a knowledgeable healthcare professional who understands how serious a problem parasites can be.
Cholesterol, Heart Disease and Pumpkin Seed Oil
Pumpkin seed oil has high levels of phytosterols which are believed to help reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad type of cholesterol) by lowering its absorption. Research, such as this study by the Department of Internal Medicine at Washington University, has shown high levels of phytosterols in the diet significantly decreased cholesterol absorption and may therefore be of benefit in lowering a person’s risk for heart disease. The essential fatty acids and antioxidants in pumpkin seed oil are also likely to be helpful in preventing heart disease.
Pumpkin Seed Oil and Arthritis
Pumpkin seed oil benefits our joints and is a popular supplement for the treatment of arthritic pain. The high levels of antioxidants, fatty acids and other compounds in pumpkin seed oil seem to help reduce inflammation in joints for sufferers of arthritis.
In fact, some research has shown the positive effects of pumpkin seed oil on arthritis is on a par with anti-arthritis drug Indomethacin, without the side effects. Unfortunately for the pharmaceutical companies, they can’t patent the natural stuff like pumpkin seed oil so they’re understandably not too keen for this kind of information to get out.
Pumpkin Seed Oil Benefits for IBS Sufferers
The benefits of Pumpkin seed oil may also extend to helping with the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The high fatty acid content may help reduce inflammation in the GI tract and many people report a lessening of symptoms when they take pumpkin seed oil regularly.
Calories in Pumpkin Seed Oil
14 g (around a tablespoon) of pumpkin seed oil has about 120 calories, but most of these calories are healthy fatty acids. We need these kind of fats in our diet and the health nutrient content of foods like pumpkin seed oil should generally always come before considerations about calories.
Where to Find Organic Pumpkin Seed Oil
Make sure your pumpkin seed oil is 100% pure and preferably organic. Pumpkin seed salad oil is a mixed product that may be of questionable quality, especially if it is mixed with other unhealthy vegetable oils.
Good organic pumpkin seed oil can be a little hard to find in the USA, but Amazon have this rich tasting pumpkin seed oil for a low price.
If you prefer capsules, a good and inexpensive option are these ones, currently on discount.
Pumpkin seed oil is very sensitive to light and heat so it’s best to keep the bottled oil in the fridge. Stored this way, it should last for several months. Pumpkin seed oil capsules are also best kept in away from light and heat but are better kept in a cupboard.
Taken regularly, pumpkin seed oil benefits many aspects of our health. While it is best known for its positive effect on BPH and hair loss, the wide range of nutrients in pumpkin seed oil are likely to be beneficial in other important areas, like enhancing our immune systems, improving skin tone and preventing inflammation.