Pumpkin Seed Oil Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

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.

Pumpkin Seed Nutrition Facts

This nutrition information for one serving (15mL) of pumpkin seed oil is provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 130
  • Fat: 14g
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 0g


Carbs

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

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

There is no protein in pumpkin seed oil.

Vitamins and Minerals

While whole pumpkin provides beta-carotene, vitamin C, and potassium, pumpkin seed oil does not contain vitamins or minerals according to the USDA nutritional facts.

Calories

There are approximately 130 calories in 15mL (or about one tablespoon) of pumpkin seed oil.

Health Benefits

Pumpkin seed oil is known to provide phytosterols, or compounds that compete with cholesterol for absorption in the digestive system. As a result, cholesterol absorption is blocked. 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.

May Increase Hair Growth

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. It's important to note that study was funded by a private company but study authors reported no conflict of interest.

May Reduce Hypertension in Menopausal Women

A pilot study conducted on menopausal women found that those who took pumpkin seed oil (rather than a placebo) experienced increases in HDL cholesterol and a decrease in diastolic blood pressure. Study authors suggest pumpkin seed oil may be a beneficial treatment for hypertension in postmenopausal women.

May Provide 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.

May Reduce Risk 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. 

Allergies

Although allergies to pumpkin seed oil are uncommon, it is possible to experience an allergic reaction when consuming it. Pumpkin seed oil allergy symptoms are similar to those of a pumpkin allergy and may include stomach cramping, nausea, skin irritation, and diarrhea.

Adverse Effects

Pumpkin seed oil is likely safe when consumed orally in moderate doses.

When It's Best

Pumpkin seed oil is available at specialty health food stores year-round.

Storage and Food Safety

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

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.

How to Prepare

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. 

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11 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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