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You've already heard plenty about DHA, the great-for-you omega-3 fatty acid in fatty fish and algal- or fish-oil supplements. Now, new research suggests that omega-7s are a healthy fat with amazing powers, too. Omega-7s squelched heart-threatening LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, boosted ticker-friendly HDL, decreased fatty liver, and improved cells' ability to take in blood sugar in several well-designed studies.
Omega-7, known as palmitoleic acid, may appear to have minor status in the world of monounsaturated fats but its health benefits are hardly such. Omega-7 helps regulate fat and blood sugar metabolism (in adipose tissue and in the pancreas). In vitro studies suggest that omega-7 helps improve the function of the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas. And when it comes to the skin, omega-7 is no minor leaguer -- it's a major fatty acid in epithelial cell membranes. This means skin, blood vessels, and mucous membranes. The presence of omega-7 in the epithelial cell membrane plays a protective role including inhibiting bacterial growth, as well promoting tissue recovery and healing.
Research specifically on sea buckthorn oil, (which contains 30 to 40 percent omega-7), shows its role in improving eczema, acne, oral and stomach ulcers, and vaginal irritation/dryness. Common dietary sources of omega-7 fatty acids include wild salmon, macadamia nuts, and sea buckthorn berries.
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.