The berries of sea buckthorn, a medicinal plant, are especially high in Omega-7.
This wonder plant is quite the marvel with an incredibly rich nutrient profile that can maintain healthy mucous membranes, benefitting your overall health and protecting you from illness.
It has the potential to ease dry eyes, protect your gastrointestinal tract and alleviate vaginal dryness.
Read on to find out more...
Mucous Membranes Protect Us and are Essential for Health
Mucous membranes cover your inner organs, lining cavities and canals that lead to the outside (our digestive, respiratory and urogenital tracts).
They line many tracts and structures including your eyes, mouth, nose, windpipe, stomach, lungs, intestines, urethra, ureters and urinary bladder.
Mucous membranes secrete lubricating mucus, which shields you from harmful things in your environment.
As they line the openings where pathogens, toxins and allergens can enter your body, the mucus they secrete protects you by trapping unhealthy particles, preventing them from getting deeper inside.
The mucus helps to moisten surfaces like those in your mouth and eyes. It also helps to keep inner tissues moist and soft.
Certain medications can damage mucous membranes. For example, NSAIDs can impair the stomach mucosa.
Illnesses including allergies, bronchitis, sinusitis, leaky gut, IBD, cystitis, ureteritis, and urethritis cause inflammation of the mucous membranes, impairing their function.
Stress and anxiety can also affect your mucous membranes, and oral mucosa may become thinner with age.
Omega-7 and Sea Buckthorn Keep Your Mucous Membranes Healthy
Omega-7 fatty acids, the most common being palmitoleic acid, are less publicised than omega fats 3, 6 and 9. However, this doesn’t mean that omega-7 doesn’t have some outstanding health benefits in its own right.
Sea buckthorn berries are extremely rich in precious omega-7. This deciduous shrub also boasts a rich nutrient profile that’s packed full of vitamins and minerals.
Sea buckthorn is unique because it contains all four omegas (3,6,9 and 7). It also has potent antioxidant properties. Sea buckthorn is what you’ll find in most omega-7 supplements.
Free radical damage brought on by exposure to pollutants and environmental toxins, illness, stress, poor diet, medications, and inadequate sleep can cause inflammation throughout your body, including your mucous membranes.
Omega-7 is an essential part of the mucous membranes’ cells and helps them retain moisture. While research is limited, several studies and trials have used sea buckthorn when researching the effectiveness of omega-7.
The powerful combination of omega-7 and antioxidants in sea buckthorn enable it to maintain your mucous membrane integrity. It can keep them hydrated, promote healthy tissue regeneration and reduce inflammation.
Omega 7 and Sea Buckthorn Protects Against Dry Eyes
Dry eye syndrome is a common condition resulting from the eyes not producing enough tears, the tears not covering the eye’s surface enough or evaporating too quickly. Symptoms include:
- Dryness and discomfort of the eyes
- Temporarily blurred vision
- Burning sensation
Conventional treatments such as artificial tears only give temporary relief and don’t address any underlying causes of the condition.
Inflammation is now considered a contributing factor to dry eyes, and due to their anti-inflammatory effects, certain fatty acids are of interest for treating this condition.
Added to the essential fatty acids omega-3 and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), omega-7 is being examined for its healing potential in this area.
Due to its ability to maintain healthy mucous membranes, omega-7 has the potential to improve tear lubrication. It can help to retain moisture in the eyes and reduce inflammation, redness and irritation.
Sea buckthorn berries are one of the most abundant sources of omega-7, added to which they are rich in bioactive compounds that help reduce inflammation and oxidation. Some studies suggest sea buckthorn oil can be a beneficial treatment for dry eyes.
For example, a randomised, double-blind, parallel, placebo-controlled trial recruited a total of 100 volunteers. Over three months, one group were given 2g of sea buckthorn oil and the other a placebo. The results showed an increase in tear secretion in the sea buckthorn group and a significant improvement in the burning and redness of the eyes.
Omega-7 and Sea Buckthorn Can Improve Gut Health
A mucous membrane lines your digestive tract, and it secretes mucus, digestive enzymes and hormones. It houses gut flora, helps to protect against abrasion and aids absorption of nutrients.
It also shields you from pathogens, dietary allergens and toxins and protects immunity.
Several things can affect the integrity of the mucous membranes lining your gastrointestinal tract, including poor diet, inflammation, stress, anxiety, environmental factors, toxicity, and ageing.
Damage to the gut mucosa can cause intestinal permeability (leaky gut), allowing undigested food particles and toxins to pass through the intestinal wall and into your bloodstream.
This can lead to chronic inflammation, reduced immunity and increased susceptibility to illness and disease.
Omega-7 can contribute to the soothing, maintenance and renewal of healthy gut mucosa, nourishing and hydrating it and calming inflammation. It helps to maintain the structure and integrity of your GI tract.
The nutrients contained in sea buckthorn and its antioxidant profile may also help to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the gut.
Some small studies suggest that sea buckthorn has anti stomach ulcer properties. Its healing action could be due to its ability to accelerate mucosal repair.
In a clinical experiment, 30 peptic ulcer patients took 12 sea buckthorn oil capsules daily for one month. A curing rate of 76.6% and a total effective rate of 96.7% was reported.
Omega-7 and Vaginal Dryness
Several studies show the beneficial results of omega-7 for vaginal inflammatory atrophy, which is thinning, dryness and inflammation of the vaginal walls. Symptoms include:
- Vaginal dryness
- Burning and urgency of urination
- Frequent urination
- Recurring UTIs
- Urinary incontinence
- Light bleeding after sex
- Lack of lubrication and discomfort during sex
- Shortening and tightening of the vaginal canal
Vaginal atrophy affects one in three women, often during or after menopause when the body produces less oestrogen.
Postmenopausal women have experienced positive results from supplementing with sea buckthorn. This could primarily be due to omega-7’s ability to strengthen, moisten and improve mucous membrane integrity.
Several conventional treatments for vaginal dryness and inflammation include vaginal lubricants and moisturisers, oestrogen creams, HRT, anti-inflammatory ointments and medication, but they’re not always sufficient.
One study gave five patients three omega-7 sea buckthorn capsules twice daily for 12 weeks. Three women showed significant improvement in their symptoms though the other two with the mildest symptoms had less apparent results.
Another study suggests daily supplementation with 3g of sea buckthorn oil, where the primary fatty acid is palmitoleic oil (omega-7), can improve symptoms.
Omega-7 and Sea Buckthorn for Healthy Skin and Epithelial Tissue
Researchers have found that omega-7 can improve skin disorders. It encourages cell regeneration, plays a significant role in wound healing, and may help to reduce hyperpigmentation and scarring.
In 2002, an in-vitro study found that omega-7 can prevent the attachment of pathogenic yeast cells to the skin. Researchers Wille & Kydonieus demonstrated its potential as a preventative treatment for wound infections and catheter coatings.
For example, a urinary catheter is often fitted through the urethral passage and makes contact with the mucous membrane.
They also highlight that omega-7 could be a natural antimicrobial for gram-positive bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus.
Good Sources of Omega-7
As mentioned, sea buckthorn is one of the most potent omega-7 sources you can find and is generally taken in supplement form though you can eat the berries.
However, it is possible to derive omega-7 from other sources.
Additional omega-7 foods include macadamia nuts (one of the highest sources after sea buckthorn), tuna, anchovies, sardines, cheese, eggs, avocado, butter, olives, and olive and avocado oil.
Mucous membranes are fundamental for your health and wellbeing. They line the tracts and organs in your body, including your eyes, mouth, nose, windpipe, stomach, lungs, intestines, urethra, ureters and urinary bladder.
They line the openings where pathogens, toxins and allergens can enter your body. The mucus they secrete protects you by trapping these unhealthy particles, preventing them from getting deeper inside.
The mucus lubricates surfaces like those of your eyes. They also hydrate underlying tissues keeping them healthy, moist and soft.
Omega-7 is an essential component of the cells making up your mucous membranes. By eating foods that contain omega-7 and supplementing with it, you can help maintain their integrity, protect your immunity and help to prevent disease.
If you suffer from dry eyes, digestive issues or vaginal dryness, you may benefit from supplementing with sea buckthorn, one of the most potent sources of omega-7. It can also help to protect your skin.
O’Hisa contains organic sea buckthorn oil obtained via supercritical extraction, ensuring its nutrient profile remains intact. It also contains zinc and vitamins B6 and B16 to promote a healthy immune system.
Written by Rebecca Rychlik, Nutritional Therapist and Homeopath. Follow Rebecca on Instagram, Facebook and Medium, @rebeccabitesback.
Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.
Due to its ability to maintain healthy mucous membranes, omega-7 has the potential to improve tear lubrication.