pumpkin seed, pumkin seed oil side effects and benefits
Pumpkin seed oil has been widely used without serious side effects. August 17, 2013
Pumpkin seed, pumpkin seed oil health benefits, pumpkin seed oil supplements
Pumpkin seeds have long been used for health benefits and the seed oils of pumpkin may also contain many active
beneficial components. The active beneficial components may protect important biological molecules from oxidative
stress. [A8] Pumpkin seed oil is a rich source of antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids [A2].
Administration of pumpkin seed oil to rats suffered from arthritis was found to improve the signs of arthritis such as paw
oedema. [A2] Administration of pumpkin seed oil together with simvastatin to high cholesterol-fed rabbits, for three
weeks caused a significant reduction of the aortic contractile response to norepinephrine and to normalize the most
adverse effects observed during hypercholesterolemia. [A3] Thus, pumpkin seed oil may benefit people at risk of
Blood pressure (BP)
Pumpkin seed oil may offer benefits of blood pressure lowering and cardiac-protection. A study suggested that
pumpkin seed oil might enhance the blood pressure lowering effect of calcium antagonist felodipine or
angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE-inhibitor), captopril. [A5] Pumpkin seed oil (40 or 100?mg/kg),
amlodipine (0.9?mg/kg), or vehicle (control) was given once daily orally for 6 weeks. Pumpkin seed oil or amlodipine
treatment significantly reduced the elevation in BP. Both pumpkin seed oil and amlodipine treatments significantly
decreased the elevated levels of plasma malondialdehyde and reversed the decreased levels of NO metabolites to
near normal values. This study has shown that pumpkin seed oil exhibits an antihypertensive and cardioprotective
effects through a mechanism that may involve generation of NO. [C1] Thus, there is a potential that pumpkin seed oil
may benefit people at risk of high blood pressure. Pumpkin seed protein isolate has shown benefits on the liver
health in an animal study. The administration of pumpkin seed protein isolates after carbon tetrachloride intoxication
resulted in significantly reduced activity levels of lactate dehydrogenase (LD), alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate
transaminase (AST) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP). [A7]
Benign prostatic hyperplasia
Pumpkin seed oil is always combined with saw palmetto to reduce the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia [1,2].
However, it alone has also been used to reduce BPH's symptoms [3,4]. In a study, 47 benign prostatic hyperplasia
patients received either sweet potato starch (group A, placebo, 320 mg/day), pumpkin seed oil (group B, 320 mg/day),
saw palmetto oil (group C, 320 mg/day) or pumpkin seed oil plus saw palmetto oil (group D, each 320 mg/day). Quality
of life score was improved after 6 months in group D, while those of groups B and C were improved after 3 months,
compared to the baseline value. Maximal urinary flow rate were gradually improved in groups B and C, with statistical
significance after 6 months in group B and after 12 months in group C. None of the parameters were significantly
improved by combined treatment with pumpkin seed oil and saw palmetto oil. [C3]
Pumpkin seed oil extracts standardized for fatty acid content have been used in benign prostatic hyperplasia studies.
Men suffered from benign prostatic hyperplasia usually take a dosage of 160 mg three times a day with meal .
Effects of phytoestrogen extracts Isolated from pumpkin seeds was demonstrated on estradiol production and estrogen
receptor/progesterone receptor expression in breast cancer and trophoblast tumor cells. Thus, pumpkin seed's lignans
may be beneficial to people at risk of breast cancer. [D1]
High Cholesterol Level
Pumpkin seed oil offer benefits to postmenopausal women in a study.
Intake of pumpkin seeds is believed to benefit people at risk of depression, as L-tryptophan in pumpkin seeds are
suggested to help remedy depression .
In Thailand, people use pumpkin seeds to prevent kidney stone [10-11]. Pumpkin seeds appear to slow down the
stone formation in the urine. Thus, it may benefit people at risk of kidney stone.
Some phytosterols are known to reduce blood levels of cholesterol. A pilot study showed pumpkin seed oil had some
benefits for postmenopausal women in cholesterol. In this study,Wheat germ oil (placebo; n = 14) and pumpkin seed oil
(n = 21) were administered to women with menopause, over a 12-week period at a dosage of 2 g per day. Women
receiving pumpkin seed oil showed a significant increase in high density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations and
decrease in diastolic blood pressure. There was also a significant improvement in the menopausal symptom scores,
with a decrease in severity of hot flushes, less headaches and less joint pains being the main contributors. Women in
the group receiving wheat germ oil reported being more depressed and having more unloved feeling. [C2]Thus,
pumpkin seed oil may benefit women at menopause.
Zinc-rich foods are known to benefit people at risk of osteoporosis. Zinc supplementation has been shown to protect
from an enhanced risk of femoral neck fracture due to chronic exposure to cadmium in a rat study [B1] Though there is
no direct evidence that intake of pumpkin seed can benefit people at risk of osteoporosis, most people believe
pumpkin seed oil can offer such benefit. It is because pumpkin seed oil is a good source of zinc.
Curcurbitin in pumpkin seeds has shown anti-parasitic activity in vi-vitro . Chinese scientists used pumpkin seeds
to treat acute schistosomiasis and tapeworm infestations [6-8]. Thus, pumpkin seed may have benefit of anti-parasitic
pumpkin seed oil supplements / pumpkin seed oil capsules
Vender e.g. GNC etc.
Pumpkin Seed Oil Dosage
The dosage of pumpkin seed oil is not well-defined. In the study of using pumpkin seed oil to lower cholesterol, the
dosage is 2 gram daily. [C2] While the dosage is 320 mg/day in a study of using pumpkin seed oil to treat BPH. [C3]
[A1] Salgado JM Chemical and biological characterization of meal and protein isolates from pumpkin seed (Cucurbita
moschata)] Arch Latinoam Nutr. 1992 Dec;42(4):443-50. [A2] Fahim AT et al, Effect of pumpkin-seed oil on the level of
free radical scavengers induced during adjuvant-arthritis in rats. Pharmacol Res. 1995 Jan;31(1):73-9. [A3] al-Zuhair H
et al, Efficacy of simvastatin and pumpkin-seed oil in the management of dietary-induced hypercholesterolemia.
Pharmacol Res. 1997 May;35(5):403-8. [A4] Zdunczyk Z, Comparative study of the chemical composition and
nutritional value of pumpkin seed cake, soybean meal and casein. Nahrung. 1999 Dec;43(6):392-5.  Zuhair HA et al,
Pumpkin-seed oil modulates the effect of felodipine and captopril in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Pharmacol Res.
2000 May;41(5):555-63. [A6} rmelon, pumpkin, and paprika seed oils and flours. J Agric Food Chem. 2001
Mar;49(3):1253-9. [A7] Nkosi CZ Effect of pumpkin seed (Cucurbita pepo) protein isolate on the activity levels of
certain plasma enzymes in CCl4-induced liver injury in low-protein fed rats. Phytother Res. 2005 Apr;19(4):341-5. [A8]
J. W. Parry et al, Antioxidant properties and phytochemical contents of cold-pressed onion, parsley, cardamom,
mullein, roasted pumpkin, and milk thistle seed oils. 2006 FDA Science Forum  Carbin et al. Treatment by Curbicin
in BPH. Swed J Biol Med 1989;2:7-9.  Carbin et al. Treatment of BPH with phytosterols. Br J Urol 1990;66:639-41. 
Schiebel-Schlosser et al. Phytotherapy of BPH with pumpkin seeds-a multicenter clinical trial. Zeits Phytother
1998;19:71-6.  Zhang et al. Effect of the extracts of pumpkin seeds on the urodynamics of rabbits: an experimental
study. J Tongji Med Univ 1994;14:235-8.  Rybaitavski et al. On the discovery of cucurbitin-a component of pumpkin
seed with anthelmintic action. Med Parazitol(Mosk) 1966;35:487-8.  Chou et al. Pumpkin seed in the treatment of
acute schistosomiasis. Chin Med J 1960:80:115-20.  Chun et al. Treatment of Taenia saginata infection. Chung Hua
Min Kuo Wei Sheng Wu Hsueh Tsa Chih 1976;9:31-5.  Plotnikov et al. Clinical trial of cucurbin in cestodiasis. Med
Parazitol (Mosk) 1972;41:407-11.  Eagles et al. Treatment of depression with pumpkin seeds. Br. J Psychiatry
1990;157:937-8.  Suphakam et al. The effect of pumpkin seeds on oxalcrystalluria and urinary compositions of
children in hyperendemic area. Am J Clin Nutr 1987;45:115-21.  Suphiphat et al. The effect of pumpkin seeds
snack on inhibitors and promoters of urolithiasis in Thai adolescents. J Med Assoc Thai 1993;76:487-93.  Carbin et
al. Treatment of BPH with phytosterols. Br J Urol 1990;66:639-41. [B1] Brzóska MM, et al, Zinc supplementation can
protect from enhanced risk of femoral neck fracture in male rats chronically exposed to cadmium. Exp Toxicol Pathol.
2011 Jul;63(5):491-8. [C1] El-Mosallamy AE et al, Antihypertensive and Cardioprotective Effects of Pumpkin Seed Oil. J
Med Food. 2011 Nov 14. [C2] Gossell-Williams M, et al, Improvement in HDL cholesterol in postmenopausal women
supplemented with pumpkin seed oil: pilot study. Climacteric. 2011 Oct;14(5):558-64. Epub 2011 May 5. [C3] Hong H,
et al, Effects of pumpkin seed oil and saw palmetto oil in Korean men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Nutr Res Pract. 2009 Winter;3(4):323-7. Other reference: Wikipedia.org. [D1] Richter D, et al, Effects of Phytoestrogen
Extracts Isolated from Pumpkin Seeds on Estradiol Production and ER/PR Expression in Breast Cancer and
Trophoblast Tumor Cells. Nutr Cancer. 2013 Jul;65(5):739-45.
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Pumpkin [Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita maxima]
Pumpkins are native to North and Central America. Native Americans used pumpkin flesh/seeds for food, seeds to treat intestinal infections and
various kidney problems and flowers to soothe minor injuries. Historically, Now, the cultivation of pumpkins occurs throughout the world. Today, the
leading commercial producers of pumpkins are the United States, Mexico, India and China.
Ingredients and Nutritional Values
Pumpkin and its seed have great nutritional values. Pumpkin's active ingredients include essential fatty acids, amino acids, phytosterols (including
beta-sitosterol), minerals and vitamins. Pumpkin seeds, also called as pepitas, are flat, dark green. Some have a yellow-white husk, some varieties
of pumpkins produce seeds without shells. Pumpkin Seed Meal has a high calorie content of 568 calories/100 g. [A1] Crude protein content in dry
matter of a typical pumpkin seed cake is about 598.0 g/kg. Seed kernels of pumpkin are rich in fat soluble vitamins, oil and protein, containing
considerable amounts of P, K, Mg, Mn, and Ca. [6, 8] Roasted pumpkin contains a significantly high amount of carotenoids, especially zeaxanthin.
[A8] Pumpkin seed kernel flour has high values of chemical score, essential amino acid index, and in vitro protein digestibility. It could be potentially
added to food systems such as bakery products and ground meat formulations as a nutrient supplement as well as a functional agent. [A6] Pumpkin
Seed Oil has high amounts of unsaturated fatty acids with linoleic and oleic acids as the major acids. [A6]
Pumpkin seed (pepitas) is believed to have potential prostate benefits, because of its rich content of the omega-3 fats, carotenoids as well as
zinc. It is common for the prostate gland to become enlarged as a man ages. Doctors call this condition benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or
benign prostatic hypertrophy. More than half of men in their sixties and as many as 90 percent in their seventies and eighties have some symptoms
of BPH. As the prostate enlarges, the layer of tissue surrounding it stops it from expanding, causing the gland to press against the urethra like a
clamp on a garden hose. The bladder wall becomes thicker and irritable. The bladder begins to contract even when it contains small amounts of
urine, causing more frequent urination. As men age, the amount of active testosterone in the blood decreases, leaving a higher proportion of
estrogen. Studies done on animals have suggested that BPH may occur because the higher amount of estrogen within the gland increases the
activity of substances that promote cell growth. DHT (dihydrotestosterone) may also have a role in the BPH. The ingredients described in pumpkin
seed oil appear able to interrupt this triggering of prostate cell multiplication by testosterone and DHT.
Pumpkin Seed Oil is a viscous, very dark green to dark red oil. Pumpkin seed oil is a good source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as myristic
acid, palmitic acid, steric acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, arachidic acid etc. Pumpkin seed oil has been used in salad dressing, ice cream
and other food products. Pumpkin seed oil is believed to benefit people at risk of BPH, irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol and certain
parasitic infestations. This article discusses the potential health benefits of pumpkin seed and pumpkin seed oil on various conditions.