The omega family of fatty acids has some well-known members including omegas 3, 6 and 9. But now the focus is shifting to a new entrant in the omega world known as omega 7.
In fact, this little known fatty acid presents so many benefits that it is being called Omega 7: The unsung hero of fatty acids. In tradition with the rest of the omega fatty acids, omega 7 also boasts impressive heart health benefits, regulates cholesterol levels and lowers glucose and insulin resistance.
But that’s not all. This heart-healthy, cholesterol-fighting, glucose metabolism-promoting omega fatty acid also holds immense potential for weight loss.
But before we look into that aspect, here is what omega 7s really are.
What Is Omega 7?
Omega 7 is a monounsaturated fat that also goes by the name of palmitoleic acid. While omega 3s and 6s are considered essential fatty acids since they can’t be produced by the body but need to be ingested through foods instead, omega 7, like omega 9, is in fact produced by the body.
This makes it a non-essential fatty acid, but by no mean any less important than its other omega counterparts.
To get an idea of what it can do in the body, here is a quick look at some of the benefits of omega 7:
- Omega 7 regulates cholesterol levels in the body by not only lowering LDL levels but also by raising HDL levels. Together this mechanism helps prevent high blood pressure, improves arterial health as well as lowers triglyceride levels. In short, it comes as a complete package for improved heart health.
- Omega 7 also lowers glucose and insulin resistance making it a useful nutrient for managing diabetes. Just a small amount of palmitoleic acid gives the body the ability to improve its response to insulin. Animal studies have shown that administering palmitoleic acid results in having less insulin resistance and lower blood glucose levels.
- Omega 7 also works to reverse metabolic syndrome which is a cluster of disorders including diabetes, hypertension, elevated cholesterol levels and excess body fat around the waist. It addresses many of the underlying conditions involved in metabolic syndrome by reducing insulin resistance, suppressing fat production, normalizing lipid profiles and fighting obesity.
Omega 7 And Weight Loss
A common reason why people develop abdominal obesity or weight around the waist is due to metabolic syndrome. The condition, in part, is believed to be due to uncontrolled inflammation from excess fat accumulation.
The way that omega 7 targets this fat accumulation is by reducing the associated inflammation caused by stored fat deposits. When it does so, this helps in shedding extra weight off.
Another weight loss benefit of omega 7 is that palmitoleic acid inhibits the secretion of ghrelin. Ghrelin is a hormone associated with hunger. When the stomach is empty, ghrelin get secreted creating a feeling of hunger. But when the stomach is stretched, the secretion stops and you feel satiated.
Animal studies have shown that as the secretion of plamitoleic acid is inhibited, it has the effect of lowering the feeling of hunger and results in eating less without a sense of sacrifice. At the same time, administration of palmitoleic acid induces the release of appetite-related hormones that create a feeling of satiety. This combined hormonal activity can also lead to gradual weight loss.
While the bulk of evidence regarding omega 7 supplements and weight loss has been in relation to metabolic syndrome, it doesn’t mean that supplements won’t work in obese adults without this syndrome. In fact, nutrition experts believe that omega 7 isn’t a one-shot deal and for it to work effectively, it needs to be administered regularly.
Natural Food Sources Of Omega 7
Omega 7s are not found very commonly in natural foods, but some of the best sources include the following:
- Sea buckthorn
- Macadamia nuts
- Fish oil
- Whole milk and dairy fat
Supplementation For omega 7
While it is best to acquire your omega 7 intake from natural food sources, do keep in mind that foods with omega 7 content contain both palmitoleic as well as palmitic acids. While palmitolieic acid is a healthy monounsaturated fat, palmitic acid is its unhealthy, saturated fat counterpart.
To consume omega 7 foods means ingesting both types of fats.
Omega 7 supplements, on the other hand, are manufactured using purified omega 7s, meaning that the palmitic acid content has been removed. This gives supplements an edge over natural foods since you can maximize omega 7 benefits without the negative effects of palmitic acid.
To sum up, omega 7 continues to impress as a healthy fatty acid. To get maximum benefits of this try to include natural food sources into the diet.
However, being wary of the palmitic acid content, it is recommended to use supplemental forms with purified omega 7s instead.