Ever wondered why pine nut oil is so expensive? Maybe it is because producing pine nut oil is labor-intensive. Or perhaps the answer lies in the benefits of pine nut oil.
Also known as pine seed oil or cedar nut oil, pine nut oil (PNO) packs a nutritional punch. It delivers an excellent range of minerals, antioxidants, vitamins, and unsaturated fatty acids. The nutritional composition of PNO can support the immune system and improve overall body health.
In this article, we will walk you through the top 11 pine nut oil benefits:
Benefits Of Pine Nut Oil
Let’s get started.
Studies show that the pinolenic acid (PNLA) present in pine nut oil can help regulate the concentration of low-density lipoproteins LDL (1). LDL is popularly known as bad cholesterol, as having an excess of it can build up plaque on blood vessel walls. Unfortunately, this can lead to narrowed vessels, which dangerously restrict blood flow to your heart and other organs.
Pinolenic acid is a triple-unsaturated fatty acid found exclusively in pine nuts. Pine nut oil can contain up to 19% of PNLA (2). Consuming this type of fatty acid reduces the amount of LDL in the blood by modulating the hepatic uptake mechanism (3, 4). In other words, it makes the liver take up and metabolize more bad cholesterol.
PNO is rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an essential omega-3 fatty acid. And alpha-linoleic acid is a precursor of two other essential oils:
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Simply put, your body converts ALA into EPA or DHA.
High EPA and DHA levels have a remarkable impact on the brain (5). The omega-3 fatty acids can promote brain development and function in children, reducing the risk of ADHD and learning disabilities. DHA can help adults reduce the risk of developing disorders related to cognitive decline, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease (6). EPA plays a role in reducing depression symptoms (7).
Pine nut oil and other nut oils can prove beneficial to those worried about spiking their blood sugar levels out of control, worsening diabetes symptoms. There are several ways through which pine nut oil minimizes diabetes risk:
- Pine nut oil delivers unsaturated fats – Replacing your high-carb diet with healthy fats in pine nut oil may lower blood glucose and improve insulin control (8).
- Pine nut oil delivers phenolic compounds – Polyphenols have antioxidant properties that help reduce reactive oxygen species (ROS) (9). Less oxidative stress can mean improved insulin sensitivity and, therefore, better glucose control.
- Pine nut oil contains healthy amounts of manganese – This essential mineral increases insulin secretion and improves glucose metabolism.
If you are looking to drop unwanted pounds or maintain your healthy weight, you’re probably skeptical about the calories you consume. Since pine nut oil has many calories, you might assume it can lead to weight gain. Fortunately, that’s not the case.
Besides being an excellent source of healthy fats, pine nut oil is rich in protein and fiber. This nutritional composition can keep you feeling fuller for an extended period.
Research shows that the pinolenic acid in pine nut oil may trigger the release of cholecystokinin (CCK) (10). This hormone transmits satiety-related information to the brain to suppress your appetite. According to NHANES data findings, those who consume pine nut oil and other tree nuts have a smaller waist circumference, lower body weight, and body mass index (11).
Research found a strong link between a diet high in nuts – like pine nuts and almonds – and a reduced risk of colon cancer (12). Pinolenic acid has anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties, which may present a key mechanism in fighting the development of cancer (1).
In another study, researchers found that a high magnesium diet may strengthen the immune system to fight against cancer (13). It was established that cytotoxic T cells (natural killer cells) are less effective in eliminating the tumor target cells when there’s an insufficient supply of magnesium.
The surface of killer cells has LFA-1, a protein that locks to the infected or cancerous cells. Enough magnesium levels trigger the cytotoxic T cells to bind to the abnormal cells efficiently.
One of the benefits of pine nut oil is that it protects the retina, which contains a layer of light-sensitive cells. Besides DHA, pine nut oil supplies two types of carotenoids that matter to your eyes: lutein and zeaxanthin. A high level of DHA, lutein and zeaxanthin form a powerful defense mechanism.
Carotenoids accumulate in the macular region of your retina. They possess antioxidant effects that defend your eyes against harmful free radicals, reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy ( 14, 15, 16, 17).
In addition to suppressing your appetite, the CCK hormone plays a critical role in digestion. The presence of CCK secretions in the body makes the pancreas release digestive enzymes that break down carbohydrates and proteins. What’s more, it brings about gall bladder contractions, releasing the stored bile into the duodenum to catalyze the digestion of fats (18). It is also involved in the secretion of bile salts into the biliary tree or system.
Pine nut oil also promotes healthy digestion, thanks to phosphorus. This mineral nutrient neutralizes acids in your digestive system and maintains a healthy pH. As an electrolyte, phosphorus may provide relief from constipation, bloating, as well as diarrhea.
For centuries, people have used pine nuts as a remedy for GI tract issues. Research shows that nuts like pine nuts have prebiotic properties (19). If you are susceptible to digestive problems, pine nut oil could prove beneficial.
Consuming pine nut oil is one of the excellent ways to strengthen bones as you age. Even though calcium is the most important mineral nutrient when it comes to building strong bones, it isn’t the only one you need. You bones need other minerals, including Vitamin K.
Pine nut oil is high in vitamin K, which regulates calcium through osteocalcin. Osteocalcin is a type of protein crucial in bone formation. Vitamin K promotes the binding of this protein to minerals in bones. The purpose is to lower the rate of calcium loss. Vitamin K can help increase or maintain bone density to avoid mineral abnormalities like osteoporosis, bone fractures, and vascular calcification.
Consuming plenty of vitamin K is particularly beneficial for seniors, as they have more vulnerable bones. According to data from one research study, participants who consumed more vitamin K faced 22% less risk of suffering fractures (20).
Pine nut oil is one of the best sources of vitamin B6 and magnesium. One study reported that magnesium and vitamin B6 intake provides stronger relief for discomfort associated with PMS (21).
Magnesium and B6 trigger the release of more serotonin and dopamine levels. These chemical messengers in your brain regulate anxiety, happiness, and mood.
Using pine nut oil is also good for your hair, as it delivers a good amount of proteins, vitamin E, zinc, and fatty acids. All of these nutrients are linked to healthy hair growth (22). If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of hair loss, incorporating pine nut oil into your diet might be worth the effort.
When it comes to pine nut oil benefits related to the skin, emphasis is placed on its vitamin E and antioxidants that neutralize free radicals, which might damage skin cells and cause aging. Pine nut oil can be used topically to nourish, moisturize, and rejuvenate your skin. The pine nut oil molecules are easily absorbed through the skin.
Pine nut oil contains a blend of vital nutrients that can contribute to stable energy levels to satisfy the body’s functions. We will not talk about iron, protein, or healthy fats. Instead, we’ll focus on magnesium. This mineral nutrient facilitates oxygen uptake into the mitochondria cells, a crucial function in breaking down calories to supply energy to the body (23).
Unfortunately, many people are not consuming enough magnesium. But how does one know when their magnesium levels are dropping too low? There’s no one sure way to tell. However, if you have been experiencing severe or persistent fatigue and muscle weakness, you may need an energy booster like pine nut oil.
As you can see, pine nut oil is exceptionally nutritious. Its nutrient-rich profile featuring antioxidants, healthy fats, vitamins, and essential minerals contributes to many health benefits. It’s advisable to order your pine nut oil from a reliable, reputable seller. There are counterfeit PNOs on the market. And keep in mind, though, if you are allergic to tree nuts, you may experience cross-reactively to pine nut oil if you go for the unrefined type. If you have other concerns, it is best to consult your health care provider before you start using pine nut oil.