Pine Nut Oil Reduces Inflammation, Clotting Risk, and Fatty Liver Congestion

Linda J. Dobberstein, Chiropractor, Board Certified in Clinical Nutrition

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Pine Nut Oil Reduces Inflammation, Clotting Risk, and Fatty Liver Congestion
Pine nut oil has many traditional uses within folk literature. It has demonstrated powerful appetite suppressing activities, boosts immunity, helps with blood lipid levels and helps reduce digestive inflammation. Many of these uses lack scientific studies, but centuries of pine nut oil use gives it considerable credibility. New information now being discovered about pine nut oil is fascinating and should be taken to heart.

Cardiovascular and Circulatory Benefits

Research has shown that Korean pine nut oil has some remarkable anti-inflammatory benefits that has received little recognition to help heart and circulatory health compared to many other oils. Pine nut oil was shown to reduce platelet aggregation, lower blood pressure, and protect LDL from oxidation even in the context of a high fat diet in an animal study. In addition, researchers demonstrated that the rare polyunsaturated fatty acid metabolite found in pine seeds was capable of suppressing the pathway PGE2, which promotes inflammation. It was able to reduce PGE2 production by as much as a whopping 84% and blocked NF-kappa B translocation into the nucleus. This resulted in powerful anti-inflammatory protection throughout the body. The pine nut oil was incorporated into cellular membranes, which inhibited the negative effects of arachidonic acid and the inflammatory pathway, COX-2. Cox-2 pathways are powerful inflammation producing pathways in the body. Celebrex is a Cox-2 inhibitor. Aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen are older Cox-1 and Cox -2 inhibitors – all of which can have serious detrimental effects on health and come with “Black Box Warning”. Pine Nut Oil, on the other hand, does not.

Inflammation is a phenomenon that we all need to manage. Excess Omega 6 vegetable oils intake relative to Omega 3 often tips the body into the excess PGE2 pro-inflammatory pathway. There is, however, good Omega 6 oils that we need to keep inflammation moving in the right direction. Pine nut oil is structurally similar to GLA, which is a beneficial Omega 6. It offers a significant advantage for reducing systemic inflammation with PGE2 and NF-kappaB and moving the body into an anti-inflammatory state.

The effect of pine nut oil reducing platelet aggregation is even more noteworthy. Platelet aggregation is a consequence of any type of stress. Whenever our body perceives stress, real, imagined, or perceived as a threat, the body sends out powerful stress compounds from the brain to the adrenal glands and circulatory system. These stress compounds cause vasoconstriction, which signals platelets to clump or aggregate. This is a survival mechanism that prepares our body for the worst. When stress occurs, the brain uses ACTH to signal the adrenal glands to produce high amounts of cortisol to fight or flee because of the perceived threat and potential for life threatening injuries. This is ideally an acute, very limited response that resolves quickly. This also occurs on a sliding scale with the response relative to the amount of perceived threat.

A healthy example of this mechanism is the case where a grizzly bear chases you and you run safely to shelter with no injury. The stress signals calm down within seconds to minutes. If you were injured or wounded, the high stress signals progress in the body and sets signals in motion to the circulatory system to constrict our blood vessels and cause platelets to become sticky. We need platelets to be sticky in the event there is a trauma or wound that causes bleeding. Sticky platelets prevent us from bleeding to death. Modern day stress however can do the same thing, i.e. elevated stress signals to the brain cause cortisol to be dumped into the circulatory system. The consequence is blood pressure elevates and platelets become sticky and start to clump without a bleeding risk. Platelets clump or clot and then travel anywhere in the body causing stroke, heart attack, or deep vein thrombosis, etc.

A modern example may look like an individual with mild heart disease, i.e. some mild problems with blood pressure and atherosclerosis with underlying low grade chronic wear and tear. The individual is exposed to a severe stress (loss of spouse, job, or financial catastrophe) and within minutes, hours or days after the severe stress, they throw a clot and have a heart attack or stroke. The chronic low grade inflammation when compounded by acute stress signals provoke an inflammatory imbalance and cause an acute enzyme reactant, phospholipase A2 to activate. As a result, platelets become sticky and compromised blood flow even to the point of life threatening clots. Simultaneously, if the cholesterol plaques on the arterial walls have been damaged from chronic inflammation, AGEs, poor blood sugar regulation, inadequate antioxidants, or if LDL is even mildly oxidized, the risk becomes even higher with phospholipase A2 activation and increased platelet aggregation. The damaged plaques break off increasing blood stickiness or viscosity and result in clots traveling through the body until something stops it.

Platelet Aggregation and Clotting

This acute phase inflammatory reactant, phospholipase A2, can be easily measured through a blood test and help determine risk. Researchers regard this test as a significantly better predictor of stroke or heart attack than other inflammatory markers. However, measuring phospholipase A2, along with fibrinogen, highly sensitive C - Reactive Protein, and lipid particle size certainly helps evaluate the presence of oxidative damage and increase risk of stroke or heart disease. This lab information is life essential in acute or emergency situations, but it can also help understand the risks with chronic day to day inflammation and stress tolerance. It is essential to use tools to reduce concerns and manage them daily. Pine nut oil, when used long term, is incorporated into the cell walls and significantly reduces platelet aggregation and inflammation. It protected LDL cholesterol from oxidation and helped lower blood pressure. Pine nut oil clearly offers a safe alternative to reduce risk for cardiovascular concerns and to minimize inflammation.

Beside cardiovascular and circulatory health, imbalances with phospholipase A2 and platelet activating factors may also occur in many neurodegenerative diseases and neurological inflammation. This includes disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, depression, migraines, and many others. If pine nut oil can reduce platelet aggregation and inflammation in cardiovascular disease, it should also help reduce these concerns in regards to high stress and neurological inflammation. There are no research studies present on this topic, but it certainly seems to be a plausible theory worth implementing.

LDL and Fatty Liver Disease

Recent research has also uncovered some additional, interesting benefits of pine nut oil. Researchers demonstrated that pine nut oil helped improve liver function in processing LDL. This resulted in the finding that pine nut oil may have LDL lowering properties.

Research published just a few months ago also shows some new powerful information about pine nut oil and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This is a concern that is increasing in proportion with the obesity epidemic and sedentary lifestyle. NAFLD is basically an unfit liver or a fatty liver. It has lost its metabolic fitness because of issues with insulin and leptin resistance and the development of metabolic syndrome or diabetes. Essentially, liver function has become stagnant, clogging up metabolism for the whole body. Pine nut oil helped prevent fatty liver and improved an existing fatty liver. This may be related to the fact that pine nut oil improved beneficial fat burning metabolism in brown adipose tissue and skeletal muscle. By doing so, it may help prevent the liver from becoming clogged and developing into fatty liver congestion.

Dry, Scaly Skin

High stress, inflammation, and poor diets often coexist with dry, scaly skin. This is often due to lack of essential fatty acids. Researchers found that pine nut oil was able to stop dry, scaly skin in the animals that were deficient in essential fatty acids.

While pine nut oil is commonly used to help reduce appetite and improve satiety, this remarkable oil has untold benefits. Research shows benefits beyond weight management with powerful anti-inflammatory effects, lipid protection, circulatory benefits and skin health. Try taking pine nut oil for a test drive especially if life is filled with high levels of unresolved stress. It may prove to be a life changer.

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