The cold-pressed oil that’s derived from pumpkin seeds has an enthusiastic following among both wellness and natural beauty seekers. Pumpkin seed oil can work wonders for both inner and outer beauty, thanks to its rich vitamin A and E, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, zinc, tryptophan and a host of potent antioxidants.
While many people equate pumpkins and pumpkin seeds with the fall, it’s definitely time to start thinking about them for year-round use, particularly when it comes to that highly beneficial oil. It’s a handy ingredient to have around and use on an everyday basis to improve your metabolic and physiological health, along with your looks – the possibilities for use are practically endless, and it offers a very long list of benefits as well.
1. Supporting prostate health
Pumpkin seeds have long been valued as an important food for men’s health, and research suggests that both the oil and the seeds themselves may be particularly beneficial for the prostate. That’s, at least in part, due to the high levels of zinc in both (the prostate contains the body’s highest concentrations of it).
Pumpkin seed oil may in fact be one of the best things you can consume for prostate health. It’s been extensively studied, and is known to reduce the size of an enlarged prostate, particularly in the case of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or age-related prostate enlargement. In research out of Hungary, patients with BPH who took pumpkin seed oil daily for two months found improvement in night urination in 66% of participants, and 86% experienced improvement with urination difficulties. A decrease in the size of the prostate was also found in one-third of the patients.
2. Reducing inflammation
By replacing foods high in saturated fats with foods that contain healthy unsaturated fats, this naturally has a positive impact on the amount of inflammation in the body. Pumpkin seed oil can be an important part of an anti-inflammatory diet which has been found to decrease the risk of numerous chronic illnesses and diseases, as well as to fight pain from many of those conditions, like arthritis.
In fact, the high fatty acid content in pumpkin seed oil is known to aid in lubricating the joints, which can in turn help to relieve pain. Studies have shown regular doses to be even more effective than an anti-inflammatory medication known as indomethacin for reducing arthritic pain. However, unlike the drug, the oil didn’t elevate liver lipid peroxide levels – something that can even lead to the worsening of arthritis symptoms.
Reducing inflammation has many other positive effects too – a 2015 study out of the Netherlands showed that by replacing pumpkin seed oil in the diet of those who were suffering from atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in artery walls) and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, the effects of these conditions on the participants were notably reduced.
3. Relief of menopausal symptoms
Pumpkin seed oil is high in natural phytoestrogens that make it beneficial for women going through menopause, or postmenopause. Studies have shown that these compounds can help increase HDL, or “good” cholesterol, as well as lower blood pressure, lessen hot flashes, headaches, and joint pain. Thanks to its phytoestrogens, the oil may not only help to reduce the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women, but it may be able to treat it too.
4. A better night’s sleep and less anxiety
Because the oil is an excellent source of tryptophan, an essential amino acid that the body converts to serotonin, which is then turned into melatonin, AKA the “sleep hormone,” it can also help you to get a better night’s rest. Tryptophan is also scientifically proven to be an effective treatment for anxiety, which means by consuming it regularly, not only can you look forward to some decent sleep for once, which naturally reduces anxiety the next day, you’ll get a double whammy when it comes to lowering your anxiety level.
5. Fighting male hair loss
Men get to enjoy another great benefit specifically just for them in that pumpkin seed oil is known to help fight hair loss. Hair loss is linked to an increase in an androgen hormone known as diHydroxy Testosterone, which means that by managing hormones through a healthy diet, you can actually spot or even reverse the process. You can thank its high levels of zinc once again for this much-wanted effect as the mineral is known to help balance hormones, therefore encouraging hair growth rather than loss.
This isn’t just talk either. A 2014 study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine discovered that men who took pumpkin seed oil daily over the course of 24 weeks enjoyed an increase of hair by an average of 40%.
6. Improved heart health
Pumpkin seed oil is rich in healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants which all offer benefits for heart health. As mentioned, its anti-inflammatory properties and phytoestrogens are both known for supporting the heart, including increasing “good,” HDL cholesterol. Additionally, through a process believed to involve the production of nitric oxide, the oil has been shown to exhibit cardioprotective and antihypertensive effects, which, in layman’s terms, means that it can protect you from heart attacks and heart disease.
7. Improved bladder function
Pumpkin seed oil is an ingredient that’s often included in products designed to alleviate urinary incontinence and bladder issues. In older men, urinary incontinence is frequently linked to an enlarged prostate, and it’s believed that the oil’s ability to block the androgen hormone DHT, may relieve the problem.
A study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine in 2014, suggested that the oil may effectively treat urinary disorders, and especially an overactive bladder, which indicates that pumpkin seed oil may be essential for maintaining a healthy excretory system as we age.
8. Relieving digestive woes
Pumpkin seed oil may even be effective for treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Although it isn’t known exactly how it works, it may be due to its high fatty acid content which helps reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. Many people have reported experiencing fewer symptoms when taking pumpkin seed oil regularly.
The oil has even been used effectively to treat intestinal parasites, with the rare ability to paralyze worms in the digestive tract. The paralysis is temporary, which means it’s important to follow it up by taking some type of natural laxative, like castor oil, about an hour later in order to expel the worms as quickly as possible in a bowel movement. If there is no bowel movement, the parasites will be able to recover. You may need to periodically repeat this treatment over a few days, then take a break for a few days and repeat again over the course of two weeks as parasites can be difficult to eradicate.
9. Treating diabetes
With proper diet and supplements, type 1 and type 2 diabetes can be managed and even treatable, and pumpkin seed oil should probably be an important part of any diabetic patient’s diet.
London’s Daily Telegraph quoted research conducted by East China Normal University in 2007, which discovered that compounds found in pumpkin were able to successfully promote the regeneration of damaged pancreas cells in diabetic rats. That resulted in a boost in insulin levels in the rats, which the scientists believe pumpkin extract would be beneficial in humans who are either pre-diabetic or fully diabetic. A study out of Japan conducted two years later found that pumpkin paste used in rates with type 2 diabetes was effective in improving both insulin resistance and glucose tolerance.
10. A higher sex drive
You’ve heard that eating oysters can boost your sex drive, but you’ve probably never heard that pumpkin seed oil may equal better sex, right?
Oysters are believed to help in the bedroom because of their high level of zinc, AKA, the “ultimate sex mineral,” according to the well-known TV doctor, Dr. Oz. Pumpkin seed oil is high in zinc too, and studies have shown that women with greater sex drives also tend to have higher levels of testosterone, which is necessary for satisfying orgasms. What increases those testosterone levels? Zinc. This “sex mineral” blocks the enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen.
11. Younger looking, healthier skin
The oil, as mentioned earlier, isn’t just good for your insides, but your outsides too. Because it’s rich in fatty acids and an outstanding anti-inflammatory, it helps to calm and soothe redness in the skin as well as keep it hydrated and firm. It encourages cell turnover and aids in maintaining collagen levels, which results in more youthful looking skin. Vitamin E, in particular, is found in high levels in pumpkin seed oil, and combined with its beta-carotene content, they work together to help protect the skin from damage and reduce the signs of aging.
The oil also helps to improve skin tone, and may be beneficial for a variety of conditions like eczema, psoriasis, acne and dry flaky skin too – all thanks to its high level of fatty acids and powerful antioxidant content.
The fatty acids are what help to maintain proper skin tone and speed the repair of irritated skin while ensuring proper moisture levels and normalizing oil production in the epidermis.
12. Thicker, more lustrous hair
Since pumpkin seed oil is known for being effective in treating male hair loss, it’s really no surprise that it can help anyone, male or female to enjoy thicker, more lustrous locks. That’s because it’s loaded with vitamins A, K, and E, as well as fatty acids and minerals. All of those nutrients come together to strengthen the hair. They also work to shield hair protein and hydrate follicles for more shiny strands – and, because it’s been shown to inhibit an enzyme known as 5 -alpha reductase, which slows hair growth, you might just enjoy longer hair too.
How To Use Pumpkin Seed Oil
Heat can destroy many of the key benefits of pumpkin seed oil so avoid cooking it. Instead use as a dressing for salads.
Try this bottle of Organic Pumpkin Seed Oil from the Seed Oil Company. It is widely regarded as one of the highest quality pumpkin seed oils available.
Alternatively, you can take a daily pumpkin seed oil supplement, such as these soft gels from Swanson.