Pumpkin Seed Oil Health Benefits and Nutrition Facts

Should You Try Pumpkin Seed Oil for Hair Loss?

Pumpkin seed oil, annotated

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman  

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, although scientific evidence for these uses is limited. Pumpkin seed oil may be consumed in liquid or capsule form.

Nutrition Facts

This nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one tablespoon (14g) of pumpkin seed oil.

  • Calories: 120
  • Fat: 14g
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 0g

Carbs in Pumpkin Seed Oil

Even though there is carbohydrates in pumpkin and in pumpkin seeds, there is no carbohydrate in pumpkin seed oil. Like all oils, the glycemic index of pumpkin seed oil is zero.

Fats in Pumpkin Seed Oil

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 raise HDL (good) cholesterol, improve the ratio of HDL to LDL 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.

Protein in Pumpkin Seed Oil

There is no 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

A 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, some found relief from overactive bladder symptoms. However, not all symptom changes were statistically significant and a double-blind, randomized controlled study is needed to confirm the results.

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, however, was performed on rats, so it is unclear whether humans would experience these same benefits.

Some research suggests replacing saturated fats with omega-3 fatty acids or taking omega-3 supplements may reduce the risk of heart disease, however, a meta-analysis of 20 studies published in JAMA found supplementing with omega-3s is not associated with a lower risk of cardiac death, heart attack, or stroke. 

Furthermore, the omega-3s studied are typically EPA and DHA, which are found in fish, and not ALA, the omega-3s found in plants, which has a different impact on the body. More research is needed to determine if pumpkin seed oil has an impact on heart disease. 

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.

Recipes and Preparation Tips

Pumpkin seed oil is a versatile product that can be used in a variety of different recipes. Makers of the oil recommend using it in salad dressings (combined with apple cider vinegar and salt), marinades, drizzled over pasta or roasted vegetables, mixed into dips or creamy salads like potato salad. Some even recommend pouring a small amount of pumpkin seed oil over ice cream. The nutty flavor of the oil imparts a unique taste that some prefer as a treat.

However, according to health sources, the cooking oil is not stable at higher temperatures. Pumpkin seed oil has a smoke point of 320°F or lower, so it should not be used for frying, sautéing, stir-frying, or other forms of cooking. 

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.

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9 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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