When you hear about omega fatty acids, omega-3 probably comes to mind. But there is a range of other omega fatty acids which are just as necessary. Omega-7 is found in just a few foods, including fish and nuts. However, one of the richest sources of this rare fatty acid is the berry of the sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) plant. In fact, the pearl-shaped berry is commonly referred to as a “nutrient bomb” because it contains more than 200 bioactive compounds including vitamins, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and plant sterols. Even though sea buckthorn berries are an excellent source of omega-7, the seeds also provide a great many nutrients, so having a combined source of berry extract and seed oil is important. I think that the best supplemental sources are extracted using environmentally friendly, solvent-free, supercritical CO2 technology.
Aged skin is less extendable and less elastic than younger skin. Fine lines and wrinkles are characteristic signs of age, especially photo-aged skin. Wrinkle formation is due to the decrease of elasticity, photoaging, and free radical attack on the skin. But skin aging doesn’t necessarily have to do with how old you are. It can be accelerated by poor nutrition, lack of sleep, excessive sun exposure, environmental toxins, stress, or a combination of any or all of them. Fortunately, sea buckthorn protects and restores skin while helping it retain moisture and elasticity. In fact, a clinical study showed that women (average age of 61) using sea buckthorn saw an improvement of skin moisture by 49 percent (33 percent in the first month), elasticity by 26 percent, and wrinkles by 9.2 percent. Essentially, it slowed down the aging process of the skin.
Soothes Stomach and Digestive System
Sea buckthorn berry and seed oil heals mucous membranes throughout the digestive tract, including the esophagus, stomach, and intestines. That means it can protect against ulcers and help existing gastric ulcers heal faster. In one study, it outperformed the prescription drug cimetidine (a brand name is Tagamet®), which is used to lower stomach acid production.
Support for Sjögren’s Syndrome
Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and dryness in the mouth, tear glands, lining of the bronchial airways, and vagina. Sjögren’s syndrome can also be associated with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and scleroderma. Because around 90 percent of patients with Sjögren’s syndrome are female, the condition is often associated with vaginal dryness, which causes pain during intercourse and recurrent vaginal infections. A three-month clinical trial of women with Sjögren’s syndrome found that sea buckthorn oil improved vaginal mucosa, and reduced burning, itching, pain, secretion, and dryness.
Relieves Dry Eyes
Contact lens use is a major contributor to dry eyes and fatigue. In fact, half of the men and women with dry eyes in a sea buckthorn clinical study were contact lens wearers.
After three months, sea buckthorn reduced redness and burning sensations by reducing the inflammation in the eyes, and by helping build a healthy fatty acid balance.
Fatty acids – and a healthy fatty acid balance – help build the composition of tear film produced by the meibomian glands at the edges of the eyelids. The lipid (or fat) content of that film is what helps prevent water and moisture loss from the eyes, so it’s an important factor in dry eye syndrome and other conditions of eye dryness.
Protects Your Heart and Cardiovascular System
Sea buckthorn reduces the risk of heart disease by boosting good cholesterol and reducing bad cholesterol. It also helps prevent the formation of dangerous clots, inhibits inflammation, and improves microcirculation in the tiny blood vessels of the eyes, brain, and skin. Aside from heart disease and diabetes, microcirculation issues also show up as enlarged blood vessels in the skin. This is frequently a condition found in women, and oxidative stress is often the major cause.
Michael K Chase, MS, NTP
Nutrition Science and Dietetics