Black seed oil has been used for centuries and called the "wonder drug" by some. It's easy to see why - research has touted its benefits in everything from eczema and asthma, to inflammation and immunity.
But there's one use case in particular that has everyone excited - weight loss.
So is it true? Does black seed oil help you lose weight faster?
What exactly is black seed oil?
I personally love black seed oil for its anti-inflammatory benefits. When I was losing 50lbs, I took black seed oil to help with my immune system and was pleasantly surprised when I realized it was helping the weight loss journey along too.
Black seed oil is derived from black caraway or black cumin seeds, also known as Nigella seeds. While the oil is more commonly used than the seeds, both have benefits. The oil has a spicy or peppery flavour and is preferred over the seeds, which may taste bitter.
Research has grown over recent years suggesting that nigella seeds have several pharmaceutical uses, including anti-microbial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, anti-obesity effects, and respiratory health benefits. However, black seed oil's weight-loss benefits have gained the most attention in recent times.
How does black seed oil help with weight loss?
The supplement's weight-loss benefits are attributed to two main factors. Firstly, some research suggests that black seed oil can control insulin production, manage insulin levels, and improve glucose control, which can reduce cravings and aid in weight loss.
It is able to reduce triglycerides and glucose when elevated, reduce blood pressure and can normalize cholesterol metabolism (although not HDL-C) as well. There's evidence that in those with central obesity, the seeds were noted to greatly improve symptoms of obesity, such as loss of libido, forgetfulness, high appetite, aches and arthalgia, and sleeplessness.
Secondly, an antioxidant called thymoquinone in black seed oil may help reduce inflammation or swelling in the body. The reduction in inflammation may also support metabolic processes that result in weight loss.
While the number of studies on black seed oil's weight loss benefits is limited, there are some promising results. A small study found that people who took black seed oil and did aerobic exercise showed better weight-loss results than those who did not take the supplement. Another study revealed that black seed oil may reduce body weight, BMI, and waist circumference.
How to take black seed oil for weight loss
Black seed oil is available in oil, soft gel, or liquid supplement form, and the recommended daily dose is 500mg taken twice a day. However, as with all supplements, it is essential to buy from a reputable brand that has undergone third-party testing. There are many black seed oil vendors out there who don't perform the proper testing and end up giving you a sub-par product.
It is also recommended to start with a small dose and increase as tolerated, checking with a doctor before taking the supplement, as some of its active ingredients may interfere with prescription medicines.
Ready to add black seed oil to your weight loss program?
By Dr Cathy Adams
Dr Adams is a family physician based in Boston, MA. She is passionate about helping moms feel their best.
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