Pumpkin Seed Oil Health Benefits and Nutrition Facts

Should You Try Pumpkin Seed Oil for Hair Loss?

Pumpkin seed oil in bottle beside pumpkin, studio shot
Maximilian Stock Ltd. / Getty Images

Pumpkin seed oil—also called pepita oil—is the oil extracted from the seeds of a pumpkin or Cucurbita maxima. The orange-red oil is often promoted as a health supplement. Some people use pumpkin seed oil for hair loss, to relieve symptoms of menopause, or to treat overactive bladder. Pumpkin seed oil maybe be consumed in liquid or capsule form.

Nutrition Facts

Pumpkin Seed Oil Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 2 teaspoons (9 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 80 
Calories from Fat 80 
Total Fat 9g13%
Saturated Fat 1.5g7.5%
Polyunsaturated Fat 5.5g 
Monounsaturated Fat 2g 
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 0mg0%
Potassium 0mg0%
Carbohydrates 0g0%
Dietary Fiber 0g0%
Sugars 0g 
Protein 0g 
Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 0% · Iron 0%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Fats in Pumpkin Seed Oil

The fats in pumpkin seed oil are considered to be good fats. Most of the fat in pumpkin seed oil is polyunsaturated fat, specifically omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Research has shown that these essential fatty acids can help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular disease. Nutrition experts recommend that you get 3-10 percent of your daily calories from polyunsaturated fat.

You'll also get a small amount of monounsaturated fat when you consume pumpkin seed oil. Monounsaturated fats are considered good fats because they can help boost your HDL or "good" cholesterol levels. Experts at the  Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommend that you choose foods with monounsaturated fat instead of saturated fat when possible and consume 15-20 percent of your caloric intake from monounsaturated fat.

There is no carbohydrate or protein in pumpkin seed oil.

Health Benefits

Pumpkin seed oil is known to provide phytosterols. According to the Cleveland Clinic, "Because phytosterols are structurally similar to the body’s cholesterol, when they are consumed they compete with cholesterol for absorption in the digestive system. As a result, cholesterol absorption is blocked, and blood cholesterol levels reduced." For this reason, some people consume pumpkin seed oil to lower cholesterol and boost heart health.

Other pumpkin seed oil benefits are widely reported on the internet and by supplement makers. Some of these benefits are backed by clinical studies, although some of the studies were performed on rats, not humans, and other studies are limited in scope. So there is not an extensive body of research into the health benefits of the oil.

Pumpkin Seed Oil for Hair Loss

study published in Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that when men took 400 milligrams of pumpkin seed oil per day (in capsule form) for 24 weeks, they saw an increase in hair growth. Those who took pumpkin seed oil saw a 40 percent increase in hair count, whereas men who took a placebo saw a 10 percent increase in hair count. The study was funded by a private company but study authors reported no conflict of interest.

Relief of Menopausal Symptoms

A pilot study conducted on 35 menopausal women found that those who took pumpkin seed oil (rather than wheat germ oil) experienced increases in HDL cholesterol, a decrease in diastolic blood pressure, and fewer menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, headaches, and joint pain. Study authors suggested that more research is needed to confirm their results.

Overactive Bladder Relief

A study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine found that when study participants consumed pumpkin seed oil as an extract for 12 weeks, they found relief from overactive bladder symptoms.

Possible Treatment for Metabolic Disease

A study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture examined the use of pumpkin seed oil on metabolic disease in rats. Scientists found that pumpkin seed oil may be helpful in the prevention or treatment of metabolic disorder in rats who were fed a high-fat diet. However, rodent studies don't provide strong evidence that humans will experience the same benefit.

These studies simply offer clues to researchers so that further studies can be developed.

Possible Treatment for Blood Pressure, Prevention of Heart Disease

A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that pumpkin seed oil may have the potential to lower blood pressure and provide other benefits to prevent heart disease. This study was also performed on rats, so it is unclear whether humans would experience these same benefits.

Common Questions

What is the best way to store pumpkin seed oil?

To store pumpkin oil, keep it in a cool cupboard, away from direct sunlight. Refrigeration is often recommended after opening.

How long does pumpkin seed oil last?

If you do refrigerate the product, bring it to room temperature before you use it. When stored properly, pumpkin oil can last for up to two years.

Side Effects and Interactions

The Therapeutic Research Center Natural Medicine Database reports that pumpkin seed oil is probably safe when consumed orally and appropriately. However, they advise women who are pregnant or breastfeeding to avoid using the product in amounts greater than those found in food because there is not enough evidence to supports its safety.

Sources:

Cho YH, Lee SY, Jeong DW, et al. Effect of pumpkin seed oil on hair growth in men with androgenetic alopecia: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:549721

El-mosallamy AE, Sleem AA, Kenawy SA. Antihypertensive and cardioprotective effects of pumpkin seed oil. J Med Food. 2012;15(2):180-9.

Gossell-williams M, Hyde C, Hunter T, et al. Improvement in HDL cholesterol in postmenopausal women supplemented with pumpkin seed oil: pilot study. Climacteric. 2011;14(5):558-64

Morrison MC, Mulder P, Stavro PM, et al. Replacement of Dietary Saturated Fat by PUFA-Rich Pumpkin Seed Oil Attenuates Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Atherosclerosis Development, with Additional Health Effects of Virgin over Refined Oil. PLOS One September 25, 2015

Nishimura M, Ohkawara T, Sato H, Takeda H, Nishihira J. Pumpkin Seed Oil Extracted From Cucurbita maxima Improves Urinary Disorder in Human Overactive Bladder. J Tradit Complement Med. 2014;4(1):72-4. 

Zhao XJ, Chen YL, Fu B, Zhang W, Liu Z, Zhuo H. Intervention of pumpkin seed oil on metabolic disease revealed by metabonomics and transcript profile. J Sci Food Agric. 2017;97(4):1158-1163