I want to share with you a product you may not have heard much about before: safflower oil. In this article, I’ll share with you what it is, why it helps, and how you can be getting it into your system starting today.
Breaking Down Oils
In general, oils can be pretty useful. Things end up sticking a bit more in the kitchen without them, and sometimes they can supply some useful nutrients.
However, they are always processed foods. So, when I talk about “good oils,” it is not something you would want to comprise the majority of your food intake.
Oils are made up of primarily empty calories. So, while they are good sparingly and in small amounts, they are not something you should actively add in or use to fortify your diet.
Oils, Nutrients, Fatty Acids
How is oil relevant when it comes to nutrients and fatty acids? Basically, it all starts with essential fats. These are fats that we need, and are unable to produce on our own.
There’s only two of those, which include:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Omega-6 Fatty Acids
In addition, we know of fats like omega-9 and saturated fats. Omega-9, for instance, is considered good because many cultures have used it with positive health outcomes.
There may be polyphenols in it, and it may be a neutral source of calories for those who are active. At the same time, though, it is not essential.
Well, that was never true. The same can be said of those now who say that saturated fat is perfect and we need more of it. The answer lies somewhere in the middle.
Our bodies do run on saturated fats when building certain structures, but we make it whenever we want it. There’s no such thing as a saturated fat deficiency (Read: The Full Story On Saturated Fats and Your Heart).
Bottom Line: When you add in things that the body can make on its own, that aren’t supplying essential nutrients, that is how we come to define the term “empty calories.”
Considering Oils: Important Factors
When it comes to oils, there are definitely some things we want to know before we consume them. The first is where they came from.
We then need to think about whether there might be any contaminants. That’s because there are oils which are expressed by chemicals, and the concern is that one could have hexane residues.
Lastly, we want to consider the smoke point. This is the temperature at which oil begins to smoke, and some oils are quite fragile and create free radicals that we would rather avoid.
In general, oils are a consideration because we need those essential fats, but we can get those from nuts and seeds, freshwater fish, and some vegetables.
Key Insight: In other articles, I go in-depth about essential fats and some of the considerations you need to make about them. So, please, keep your eyes peeled for those.
Safflower Oil: The Basics
So, now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get to the heart of today’s discussion.
I want to talk to you about safflower oil. The primary consideration is that you can get this oil in different versions, including:
- high linoleic acid Safflower Oil
- High-Oleic Safflower Oil
The high-oleic form of safflower oil is a lot like olive oil. Specifically in the types of fats that it can contain (omega-9 fats).
For those purposes, I would argue that omega-9 fats are easier to find from other sources. So, if you’re thinking in terms purely surrounding omega-9 fats, olive oil is likely a safer bet.
Linoleic acid is one of those two essential fats, and it’s the one we need in the highest quantity.
Safflower oil is also one that has a very high smoke point. That’s because it is around 500-510 degrees, and that means you can sautee with it at a much higher temperature than most oils.
Another perk is that it is low in cost. You don’t have to worry about breaking the bank when it comes to picking up a bottle. It’s also readily available.
Safflower Oil and Conjugated Linoleic Acid
Here’s a term you may have never heard before: conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
CLA is a non-essential fat, but it may be a beneficial fat for human metabolism. Some have recommended using safflower oil because it provides CLA.
So, is this true? While it does have it, the details reveal that it doesn’t have much of it at all. While it might have 7 milligrams per tablespoon, that is an amount that will not do much for you.
Instead, in terms of CLA, you’ll need thousands of milligrams for it to be effective. You just won’t be able to get that from safflower oil, plain and simple.
Human Research: Safflower Oil
What kind of health benefits can you expect from safflower oil? I took a look through the data, and there are some very interesting results that I want to share with you.
Here’s what I was able to find:
- Safflower oil has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B (which is raised by both butter and coconut oil)1
- It lowers inflammation and has anti-cancer properties (based on a cell study)2
- Helps with dry skin, both taken orally or used topically
- Aids in the process of wound healing3
Safflower Oil & Wound Healing
I wanted to speak on this subject just a bit more, because I find it so fascinating.
When it comes to safflower oil and healing wounds, let me share with you the following graphic:
This is to illustrate the known properties of safflower oil that occur in humans.
We have data suggesting that it can help manage actinic keratosis. This is a cancerous change of the skin relative to sun exposure.
It has also been shown to reverse and prevent skin aging, in addition to an anti-inflammatory effect that takes place.
We also know that, both orally and topically, it affects skin barrier repair (for a lot of the same reasons listed and outlined above).
It also benefits the microbial balance in the gut, as well as antibacterial properties overall to help boost the immune system.
Overall, this entire network of benefits is unique to safflower oil. It comes equipped with so many benefits, I feel as though people should be using it far more often.
There have been studies done on those who are receiving total parenteral nutrition. This means that due to the loss of intestinal function, they need to be fed intravenously.
In those cases, patients can develop deficiencies in essential fats – unless they are given those same essential fats (through fortification).
In the past, though, this wasn’t known. So many diets were not fortified with these essential fats that patients would have needed.
Key Insight: In fact, that’s how we’ve been able to learn everything we do today about essential fats and their effect on the body.
Bottom Line: Putting on safflower oil is almost the same as eating it! You’re able to gain benefits, through your entire body, that you wouldn’t be able to have otherwise.
Safflower Oil: Topical Use & Weight Loss
It may improve the essential fatty acid status, even when used topically.4
A habit that I have heard quite often is not necessarily using safflower oil after bathing, but during baths. That could involve applying a small amount to your skin while in the process of washing up.
In that way, it is able to better “mix” with your skin after being moistened by the water of the bath or shower. You are able to seal in that moisture much more effectively.
For women specifically, it may help with weight loss. Even a rather modest amount may have a profound effect on body composition.5
One study showed that it also was able to improve fasting glucose and increased lean mass.
For linoleic acid, safflower oil is the densest known dietary source in existence. While some have said that getting too much linoleic acid may hurt our health, I have written extensively about that and the research I have found.
Safflower Oil: Action Steps
So, what should you do about safflower oil? That’s easy, simply grab a bottle!
Personally, I like the ones that are not the high-oleic varieties. All you need is the regular, plain and simple safflower oil. Nothing fancy about it.
Most of your larger health food supermarkets are likely to carry it. So, while it may take a little bit extra work, you should be able to find it in your neck of the woods.
I like to use my safflower oil in the kitchen with a little mister bottle. While there are kinds you can buy in those spray cans, I prefer to use the classic pump variety.
In the past, I may have used a multitude of oils, but these days I’m more primarily focused on safflower oil and the benefits it brings. Especially in terms of linoleic acids.
Bottom Line: Whether in the kitchen or in the shower, please give safflower oil a try! Given everything we’ve discussed, I think you’ll like what you find.
Focus On Healthy Decisions Today
Now that we’ve talked a bit more about safflower oil, and the benefits it can bring, what else can you do for your health starting today?
Well, it all begins with the Thyroid Quiz (Click Here: Take The Quiz). You can give it a try right now, and it can give you some great insight into your thyroid health and what you can do to optimize.
I hope you’ll give it, and safflower oil, a chance right now!
2 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25134457
3 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796020/
4 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=cutaneous+safflower
5 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2728639/
1. Schedule a Thyroid Second Opinion with me, Dr. C, Click Here for Details
2. Download and use my Favorite Recipes Cookbook Here
3. Check out my podcast Medical Myths, Legends, and Fairytales Here
Dr. Alan Glen Christianson (Dr. C) is a Naturopathic Endocrinologist and the author of The NY Times bestselling Adrenal Reset Diet, The Metabolism Reset Diet and The Thyroid Reset Diet.
Dr. C’s gift for figuring out what really works has helped hundreds of thousands of people reverse thyroid disease, lose weight, diabetes, and regain energy. Learn more about the surprising story that started his quest.