Over the past year and a half or so many of my readers have noticed that I’ve spent more and more time writing about issues related to healthy weight management.
There’s a good reason for this.
The public health crisis we’re witnessing in America right now, which includes rising healthcare costs, increased mortality, and decreased quality of life, are inextricably linked to being overweight.
In fact, it’s arguably the most serious health problem we face today.
This is the reason I write about this subject so much. There are obviously a number of other health issues that I could (and do) address.
However, in most cases maintaining healthy blood sugar and a healthy weight aren’t difficult. You just need tools and knowledge to help.
Today I’ll be showing you a little-known kind of Omega fat which helps keep blood sugar balanced and healthy and could help keep weight within the healthy range.
It’s Omega 7. My bet is you’ve heard of Omega 7, but you don’t know much about it.
So I’ll spend some time telling you how it helps with blood sugar and body fat and then I’ll show you the best food sources to find it.
What Is Omega 7 And Why Don’t More People Know about It?
First off, do you know what Omega fats are exactly?
While there are a number of these kinds of fats (omega-3, omega-6, omega-9, omega-7) most people don’t really understand what they are.
A simple chemistry lesson on omega fats would tell you all omega fatty acids are unsaturated fatty acids with one or more double bonds. The number behind the omega (3,6,9 etc) is in reference to how far back the double bond appears from the terminal end of the fatty acid chain.
When it comes to omega fats, they are either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. Monounsaturated fats (omega-3 and omega-6) contain just one double bond and polyunsaturated fats (omega-7 and omega-9) have more than one.
If that doesn’t make sense, don’t worry, I’m not here to bore you with in-depth scientific explanations of fatty acid profiles. All you need to know is omega fats are essential, healthy fats (it is important to keep omega-6 consumption low because it has the potential to amplify your body’s inflammatory response).
Omega fats can be used as energy or stored as triglycerides. In fact, omega fats are some of the best sources of energy around. That’s why fatty acids like omega-3s are believed to help maintain superior brain health. Omega fats also help influence gene expression, “modulate ion channels, are incorporated into cell membranes where they affect membrane fluidity, and more.”
Omega-7 fats are found in quite a few different natural-food sources (more on those later). There are several different kinds of omega-7, but the most prevalent are palmitoleic acid and vaccenic acid.
Furthermore there are two forms of this fat. A cis isomer and a trans form.
Both are useful, but the cis isomer is formed in your body based on what you eat, and the trans isomer comes from food directly.
The trans form of palmitoleic acid is the one associated with most of the documented improvements in health.
What exactly are those benefits you may wonder?
Glad you asked.
How Omega 7 Fatty Acids Could Positively Influence Your Health
As I mentioned, omega-7 is a relatively little-known omega fat. There isn’t as much research on omega-7 as there would be on omega-3.
But what little research we do have supports the dietary intake or supplemental intake of omega-7.
The best evidence we have for using omega-7 for blood sugar improvements and weight management come from a study conducted by the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute in Ohio.
The researchers created a group of participants who all had risk factors for both diabetes and heart disease. These subjects had low- to moderate-grade inflammation and their blood lipid profiles were elevated above normal.
Cynthia Ronen writing for Life Extension magazine said this in her write up of the study which supported the use of omega-7 for better blood sugar and weight control.
“Subjects were randomly assigned to receive either an omega-7 supplement providing 220 mg palmitoleic acid or a placebo. The capsules were taken once daily, with a meal, and blood testing was done at the beginning of the study and again after 30 days.
At 30 days, the supplemented group showed a significant mean lowering in C-reactive protein of 1.9 mg/L, a 44% reduction compared with the control group. This resulted in the supplemented subjects’ C-reactive protein dropping to 2.1 mg/L, which is within the average-risk category for inflammation-induced cardiovascular or metabolic disease.
Omega-7-supplemented subjects also had significant 30 mg/dL and 9 mg/dL (15% and 8%) reductions in triglyceride and LDL-cholesterol, respectively. There was a 2.4 mg/dL (5%) increase in beneficial high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good”) cholesterol, compared with the control group.”
All of these improvements were sufficient enough to help reduce the risk of eventually developing a condition known as cardiometabolic disease, a disease known to influence unhealthy blood sugar levels, which often leads to increased body mass and excess fat accumulation and eventual heart issues.
The reason omega-7 is believed to help improve the participant’s condition is we believe this fat helps to turn on certain energy-regulating systems in the body that help you burn fat and sugar faster.
This fatty acid might also prevent sugar and fat from being stored as adipose tissue, too, which would help with weight loss and insulin balance.
Another study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed how omega-7s can help increase blood sugar and heart health.
In the study they studied 3,736 adults and demonstrated of those subjects, people who had omega-7 levels that were higher than normal typically had elevated levels of HDL (healthy) cholesterol as well as lower levels of triglyceride levels.
They also observed “as an added benefit, high omega-7 levels were associated with lower levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (by 13.8%), and lower levels of insulin resistance (by 16.7%).1
Perhaps more exciting, those with the highest circulating omega-7 levels were at a 62% lower risk for developing type II diabetes, with those in the second-highest group having a risk reduction of 59% for developing diabetes.”
These two studies (along with a few similar ones) support the use of omega-7 for better blood sugar and weight management.
Here Are the Best Places to Find Omega-7
The best places to find omega-7 are from the following foods:
- Sea buckthorn: A plant that doesn’t grow anywhere near the sea, both the seeds and the fruit of this plant are loaded with omega-7. In fact, it has the highest known content of omega-7 known to man.
- Macadamia nuts: Macadamia nuts have the cis form of palmitoleic acid and are extremely high in this nutrient. Both the oil and the nut are great sources.
- Avocados: Avocados are rich in multiple essential fatty acids, including omega-7.
- Dairy: Pasture-raised and grass-fed varieties of dairy contain generous amounts of omega-7. The fattier the dairy, the higher the levels of omega-7 (i.e. cheeses and creams that come from whole milk).
- Eggs: The yolks of eggs contain palmitoleic acid. It’s not an excessive amount, but if you’re getting a lot of pasture-raised egg yolk into your diet it should help to boost intake.
- Krill oil: In addition to delivering superior forms of omega-3, high-quality krill oil also gives you the trans form of omega-7.
The good thing about many of these dietary sources of omega-7 isn’t just that they’re rich in this fatty acid. Many of these foods give you high levels of other nutritive compounds, which means if you’re forming a diet around them not only will you get adequate amounts of omega-7, you’ll also be enriching your diet with numerous other health-boosting compounds.
Now, get down to the grocery store and load up on these items if you’re interested in benefiting from omega-7’s ability to boost blood sugar and help you lose weight.