People seeking a fast solution to weight loss are often willing to try any number of options, from special tea blends to swigging a spoonful of apple cider vinegar every day. However, the newest supplement quickly gaining steam for weight loss is black seed oil. Read on to find out what research says about the weight-loss benefits of black seed oil to decide if it’s something you should add to your daily regimen.
What is black seed oil?
Black seed oil is made from black caraway or black cumin seeds, also known as Nigella seeds. The oil expressed from these seeds is used more commonly than the seeds themselves. However, both have some benefits. The seeds may taste a bit bitter, so the oil, which has a spicy or peppery flavour, is preferred by many people.
“Nigella seeds have many pharmaceutical uses,” says Allie Gregg, RD, founder of My Easy Vegan Diet. “The seeds of the plant have been used in Southeast Asia, and the Middle and Far East as a natural remedy to treat many diseases, and is thought to offer benefits including anti-microbial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, and anti-obesity effects, as well as being beneficial for respiratory health.”
But it’s black seed oil’s weight-loss benefits that have given the supplement the most attention lately.
Can black seed oil help with weight loss?
People who promote black seed oil’s weight loss benefits chalk the supplement’s waist-shrinking abilities up to two main attributes. First, some research suggests black seed oil may help control insulin production and manage insulin levels.
A study in the Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism found that black seed oil “causes gradual partial regeneration of pancreatic beta-cells, increases the lowered serum insulin concentrations, and decreases the elevated serum glucose.” Proper glucose control can reduce cravings and may help you lose weight. (Scale still not budging? These reasons might explain why you’re not losing weight.)
The second element of black seed oil’s claim to weight loss is a decrease in inflammation. An antioxidant called thymoquinone in black seed oil may help reduce inflammation or swelling in the body, according to a study in Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine.
Although the number of studies that have looked at black seed oil for its weight loss benefits is small, as it becomes more popular, more research is underway. A few studies already point to some promising results if you’re looking to use black seed oil for weight loss.
A small study of 20 people found that people who took black seed oil and did aerobic exercise showed better weight-loss results than people who did not take the supplement, according to a report in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Meanwhile, a 2018 study in Journal of Ethnopharmacology looked at the results of 11 placebo-controlled clinical trials. The findings revealed that black seed oil may reduce body weight. People who used the supplement had a reduction in body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference.
Even the Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders conducted a systemic review of medical literature to find plants that have the greatest anti-obesity properties. The researchers discovered and wrote in their published findings that black seed oil was among the most effective natural weight-loss remedies currently known.
How do I take black seed oil for weight loss?
Black seed oil is available as an oil, a soft gel supplement, or a liquid supplement. You can find it at many health food or vitamin stores.
As with most supplements, the Government of Canada does not regulate the production of black seed oil. It’s left up to the manufacturer to meet all the safety requirements. In short, you can’t know you’re getting genuine black seed oil unless you’re buying from a reputable brand. Look for third-party testing to verify the oil’s potency.
Recommended daily dose
You can take 500mg doses twice a day, and research shows you’re unlikely to experience side effects. It may even be safe to take as much as two grams in a day, but for best results, start with a small dose and increase as you find you can tolerate it. Just make sure to check with your doctor before taking the supplement, since some of the active ingredients in black seed oil can interfere with prescription medicines. (Note: This is the best time of day to take your dietary supplements.)
Bottom line: “Even though the sample of studies is small to nonexistent when it comes to using black seed oil for weight loss, I would say there’s no harm in trying it given its other potent properties,” says Nikola Djordjevic, MD. “Surely, it can benefit your overall health. But if you want to lose weight and obtain a healthy lifestyle, think about changing your overall diet first.”
Next, check out 10 secrets your trainer won’t tell you about weight loss.