Pumpkin seed oil is also known as pepita oil. It is oil extracted from pumpkin seeds (squash).
The orange-red oil is used in cooking and sold as a health supplement. Research shows that pumpkin seed oil may have many health benefits.
This article looks at pumpkin seed oil, its uses, and possible side effects. It also discusses dosage and preparation.
What is pumpkin seed oil used for?
Pumpkin seed oil has been studied for the following uses:
- reduce cholesterol
- Relieve benign prostate symptoms hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged prostate in men
- Reduces hot flashes and hormone-related headaches in women
- Reverse hair loss
Herbs and Supplements That Help Lower Cholesterol
Pumpkin Seed Oil Contains phytosterols. These are structurally similar to the body’s cholesterol.
Plant sterols compete with cholesterol for absorption by the digestive system. This blocks cholesterol absorption and lowers cholesterol levels.
Most of the fats in pumpkin seed oil are polyunsaturated fats. This includes omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Research shows that these fatty acids can help lower LDL cholesterol. LDL is considered “bad” cholesterol. They may also help prevent heart disease.
When you consume pumpkin seed oil, you also get a small amount of monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fats are considered “good” fats. This is because they can help raise your HDL or “good” cholesterol levels.
Research suggests that pumpkin seed oil may help lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.
In a 2014 study, researchers looked at hair growth in men who took pumpkin seed oil. Subjects received either a placebo or 400 mg of pumpkin seed oil daily for 24 weeks.
The subjects who took pumpkin seed oil had a 40 percent increase in hair count. The subjects who took the placebo had only a 10 percent increase in hair count.
The study was funded by a private company, but the authors report no conflicts of interest.
Relieve menopause symptoms
In a pilot study in 2011, researchers administered either pumpkin seed oil or wheat germ oil to 35 menopausal women. They found that people who took pumpkin seed oil had elevated HDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is considered the “good” cholesterol.
The subjects’ diastolic blood pressure also decreased. This is the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats. They also had fewer menopausal symptoms, such as:
- hot flashes
- joint pain
The study authors say more research is needed to confirm their results.
Pumpkin seed oil may be able to reverse hair loss in men. In women, there is some evidence that it can relieve menopausal symptoms.
Urinary Tract Health
Research has linked pumpkin seed oil to urinary tract health. This includes:
- Improve prostate health
- Relieve overactive bladder
In a 2014 study, participants took pumpkin seed oil extract for 12 weeks. The results suggest that pumpkin seed oil may help improve symptoms of overactive bladder.
Another study compared pumpkin seed oil with saw palmetto oil for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The results showed that both oils alone were effective in improving urinary flow rate.
In conclusion, pumpkin seed and saw palmetto oil reduced serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. PSA is a protein produced by the prostate. PSA levels can be high in men with BPH.
Some research suggests that pumpkin seed oil may help improve prostate health. It may also help improve symptoms of overactive bladder.
Possible treatments for metabolic diseases
A 2017 study looked at the effects of pumpkin seed oil on metabolic disease in rats. A metabolic disease is any disease that affects metabolism.
The results showed that pumpkin seed oil could prevent or treat metabolic disorders in rats fed a high-fat diet.
Success in rodent research doesn’t necessarily mean the same benefits in humans. These studies only provide clues to help researchers develop new studies.
blood pressure and heart disease
A 2012 study found that pumpkin seed oil may be able to lower blood pressure. It also suggests that pumpkin seed oil may help prevent heart disease.
The study was also carried out in rats. That means it’s unclear whether humans will experience the same benefits.
Some animal studies suggest that pumpkin seed oil may help treat metabolic disease, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Still, animal research doesn’t always translate well to humans.
Possible Side Effects of Pumpkin Seed Oil
Pumpkin seed oil is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken as directed.
Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid consuming more than the amount of pumpkin seed oil found in food. This is because there is insufficient evidence to support its safety.
Pumpkin Seed Oil Dosage and Preparation
As a supplement, pumpkin seed oil is sold in dosages between 100 mg and 2,000 mg.
Pumpkin seed oil can also be used as a cooking oil. It has a nutty flavor. It can be used in a variety of recipes, including:
- salad dressing
You can even try pouring a small amount of pumpkin seed oil over ice cream.
Pumpkin seed oil has a smoke point of 320 F or lower. This is the temperature at which it starts to smoke. Therefore, it should not be used for:
- stir fry
- Any other form of heat cooking
A typical serving of pumpkin seed oil is 2 teaspoons. That’s 80 calories and 9 grams of fat.
What to look for when buying
Choose cold-pressed oils when buying pumpkin supplements or cooking oils. This means that the oil is extracted using pressure rather than heat.
Heat may deplete some of the antioxidants in the oil. Cold-pressed oil has many more health benefits.
How to Store Pumpkin Seed Oil
Store pumpkin seed oil in a cool cupboard out of direct sunlight. Refrigeration after opening is generally recommended.
If you refrigerate pumpkin oil, bring it to room temperature before using it. Pumpkin oil can keep for up to two years if stored properly.
Cold-pressed oil has more health benefits than heat-extracted oil. Store pumpkin seed oil in a cool, dark place. Refrigerate after opening.
Pumpkin seed oil comes from the seeds of pumpkin. It is sold for cooking and as a health supplement.
Pumpkin seed oil may help lower cholesterol. There is also some evidence that it can help reverse hair loss.
Pumpkin seeds may help relieve menopause symptoms. Research also suggests that it may help improve urinary health.
Animal studies suggest that pumpkin seed oil may have some value in treating metabolic disease, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Avoid taking large amounts of pumpkin seed oil if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
You can get more pumpkin seed oil by taking supplements or adding it to sauces and dressings. Avoid using it in high heat.
Look for cold-pressed pumpkin seed oil and store it in a cool place.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Pumpkin Seed Oil Regenerate Hair?
possible. Studies have shown that pumpkin seed oil can increase hair count in men. One study gave men 400 mg of pumpkin seed oil for 24 weeks. It found that hair growth increased after treatment. No studies have shown it has the same effect on women.
Can you cook with pumpkin seed oil?
Yes, but only for dishes that do not require heating. Oil will smoke when cooking, even at low temperatures. Use pumpkin seed oil in salad dressings, drizzle it over soups or roasted vegetables before serving, or mix it into ice cream.
Does Pumpkin Seed Oil Increase Breast Size?
maybe not. Pumpkin seeds are sometimes recommended as a breast-enhancing supplement. This is because it has estrogenic properties. However, no studies have confirmed this benefit.