Oregano Oil as a Weight Loss Nutrient

Friday, August 10, 2012
By: Byron J. Richards,
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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Oregano oil is best known as a natural immune support nutrient, demonstrating both broad spectrum anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.  A new animal study shows that the active component of oregano oil, carvacrol, can prevent diet induced obesity by modulating genes and reducing inflammation in white adipose tissue.

The researchers used the well documented model of feeding a high fat diet to induce obesity.  Mice not given carvacrol readily became obese.  Other mice were fed 0.1 percent carvacrol as part of their diet.  These mice gained significantly less weight and had lower blood levels of lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides).  An analysis of gene function showed that genes leading to the formation of new fat cells were suppressed.  Likewise, genes in white adipose tissue immune cells that otherwise cause inflammation were restrained.

A key part of the weight gain problem for any person is that immune cells start having an inflammatory party within white adipose tissue, attracting even more immune cells and causing progressive inflammation.  This problem locks in the dysfunction of white adipose tissue and contributes to stubborn weight issues.  This is the first study showing that carvacrol can directly improve this difficult problem, helping break a vicious cycle. 

The amount of carvacrol used in the study is typical for humans taking oregano oil to support immunity.  For a 1,500 calorie diet this is 1.5 calories of carvacrol; for a 2,000 calorie diet it is 2 calories.  This means if a person ate 1,500 calories per day he or she would need 166 mgs of carvacrol, or 222 mgs for a 2,000 calorie diet.  Since a 100 mg oregano oil capsule contains 65 mgs of carvacrol this translates to 3 to 4 capsules per day. 

This is the second study to show that oregano oil has anti-inflammatory properties.  An earlier study showed that it reduced inflammation in experimentally produced autoimmune arthritis.  Another earlier study showed that oregano oil also boosts dopamine levels, which improves mood and reduces cravings. 

I have also explained in an earlier detailed article, Germ Gangs Block Weight Loss, that bacterial and/or fungal overgrowth can wreak havoc with metabolism.  Clearly, oregano oil is one of the best nutrients for this issue.  Individuals with nagging digestive and/or sinus problems typically benefit from oregano oil in this context.  This is yet another angle on how oregano oil can help weight management.

Collectively, these studies indicate that oregano oil can be added to any person’s weight loss program and may be especially beneficial if a person also suffers from excess food cravings, sinus problems, digestive problems, and/or joint pain.

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