If you are considering an argan oil supplement, what do you need to know? For what conditions is this supplement marketed and what do the studies say about its effectiveness? What are possible side effects? Interact with other medicines?
What is Argan oil?
Argan oil is a natural product derived from the grains of the Argania spinosa tree (a species native to Morocco). Argan oil is rich in essential fatty acids and antioxidants (including vitamin E, polyphenols, linoleic acid and sterols) and is often offered as an anti-aging supplement for the skin. In addition, it is said that the consumption of argan oil helps in certain health conditions.
Current applications for argan oil
Argan oil is marketed under different conditions. It is important to remember that studies proving the efficacy of substances marketed as dietary supplements are not necessary. Let’s take a look at some of the common uses of argan oil, followed by a discussion of previous research. Argan oil should help with:
Advocates claim that argan oil can treat a variety of skin conditions such as acne, eczema, infections and psoriasis. In addition, argan oil is said to prevent and / or reverse the damage associated with aging when applied to the skin. Some studies have shown that both argan oil and oral argon oil can improve skin elasticity in postmenopausal women. Argan oil is also commonly used as a massage oil.
Argan oil is touted as a natural treatment for dry hair, split ends and scalp health problems (such as dry scalp and dandruff). Biotin is also often recommended for hair with or without argon oil.
Argan oil was developed to strengthen the nails and is sometimes recommended for the treatment of brittle nails.
Studies on the health benefits of oral argan oil
Some advocates claim that consuming argan oil can help treat or prevent certain health conditions such as osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, and atherosclerosis.
So far, few scientific studies have proven the effect of argan oil. Although there is no research on the benefits of argan oil for the skin, hair and nails. Preliminary studies indicate that argan oil can improve health when taken orally.
Insulin resistance studies
In tests on rats, for example, scientists have shown that consuming argan oil can fight insulin resistance, protect against obesity-related health problems, and lower blood pressure.
Studies of heart disease
One of the few clinical trials to test the potential benefits of argan oil was found in a 2005 report by Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Disease, which found that the use of argan oil supplements can help prevent heart disease.
For the study, 60 young men consumed 25 ml of argan oil or extra virgin olive oil daily for three weeks. The results of the study showed that both oils helped improve participants’ antioxidant status (an effect that the authors of the study believe can help reduce cardiovascular risk). In another human study, oral argan appears to improve the lipid profile of people undergoing dialysis.
A 2017 study in rats found that argan oil may have anticonvulsant activity. In these studies, there appear to be effects on the hippocampus in the brain of rats that increase the seizure threshold (making them less common) and reduce the risk of death for rats with status epilepticus.
It has been found that topical argan oil has some benefit in curing second degree burns in rats, and it is recommended to study argan oil (along with silver sulfadiazine) for the treatment of human burns.
Before the consumption of argan oil is recommended for the prevention or treatment of a state of health, further research is needed.
Forms of argan oil
Since argan trees are native to Morocco, argan oil products are often referred to as “Argan oil from Morocco”. In Morocco, argan oil has long been used for the topical treatment of skin problems.
Argan oil is used as an ingredient in a variety of personal care products, including creams, lotions, serums, facial masks, shampoos and conditioners. You can also buy pure argan oil that does not contain any additional ingredients.
Where is argan oil?
Argan oil and argan oil-based products are found in many health food stores and beauty shops, as well as in some pharmacies.
Possible side effects and interactions
In the argan literature, there are several reports that lead to skin rash (contact dermatitis). Side effects related to oral use are uncertain, as few studies have been performed in humans.
Some supplements such as tocopherols in argan oil can prolong bleeding time (and should not be used on people taking blood thinners), but it is not known if this is a problem with argan oil alone.
The end result of using argan oil for health
Argan oil has potential benefits, but it is important to divide it into topical and oral applications. Typically, argan oil is available alone or in combination in many skin care products. There are few studies, but some benefits have been found by using argan oil for dry skin in postmenopausal women. Although not studied in humans, the use of Argan appears to be effective in the treatment of second-degree burns in rats.
Oral intake of argan oil is another topic. The ingredients of Argan, including the well-known strong antioxidants, suggest that it may have important uses, but the research is still very young. Research in rats has found beneficial effects on lipids and appears to improve both lipids and the status of antioxidants in some human studies. Currently, medical research does not support the use of argan oil for the prevention or treatment of health conditions. Further research is required.
If you are considering the use of argan oil for a healthy condition, be sure to consult your doctor. Self-treatment of a condition and avoidance or delay of standard care can have serious consequences.