Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) has traditionally been used in a variety of therapeutic applications. Some of the key actions of sea buckthorn include hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, immunomodulatory, anti-proliferative, anti-microbial and tissue regenerative. Although commonly used both topically and internally for skin health, the uses of sea buckthorn can be applied for benefits beyond just a glowing complexion.
Palmitoleic acid is found abundantly in human skin but it decreases markedly with age. Irrespective of age, the fatty acid is beneficial in the treatment of specific skin concerns, including hyperpigmentation, fibrosis and wound healing.1 Oxidative stress further accelerates skin ageing as reactive oxygen species accumulate, stimulating the inflammatory process in the skin. Palmitoleic acid downregulates inflammation and supports collagen regeneration via activation of the silent information regulator 1 (SIRT1), which controls a variety of cellular functions. The role of omega-7 in SIRT1 activation is believed to be one mechanism by which this fatty acid is able to effectively regenerate collagen.2
The cardioprotective benefits of omega-7 were outlined in a meta-analysis of 11 randomised controlled trials using sea buckthorn which highlighted its palmitoleic acid and phytochemical content. The meta-analysis concluded that sea buckthorn berry extract significantly altered blood lipid profiles in individuals with hyperlipidaemia and heightened cardiovascular risks – with outcomes including significantly reduced total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL-C, and increased HDL-C.3,4
It has been suggested by multiple studies that palmitoleic acid acts like a lipokine –
an adipocyte-derived lipid hormone – due to its ability to regulate compromised metabolism, as seen in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and obesity.5 In vitro studies have found that palmitoleic acid positively influences pancreatic beta cell survival and insulin secretion, along with improved skeletal muscle insulin response and fat metabolism. In humans, palmitoleic acid has also been shown in studies to improve insulin sensitivity, thereby reducing the risk of T2DM onset.6
Palmitoleic acid has also been found to have an anti-inflammatory benefit. One study which measured the inflammatory biomarkers of ulcerative colitis patients found that 720mg per day of Cis-palmitoleic acid for eight weeks significantly reduced hs-CRP, ESR and IL-6 by increasing expression of HNF4-a and HNF4y genes involved in protecting tissue from inflammation.7
 Weimann E. Topical anti-inflammatory activity of palmitoleic acid improves wound healing. PLoS One, 2018;13(1).
 Song I, Gu H, Han H, et al. Omega-7 inhibits inflammation and promotes collagen synthesis through SIRT1 activation. Applied Biological Chemistry, 2018;61:433-439.
 Solà Marsiñach M, Cuenca AP. The impact of sea buckthorn oil fatty acids on human health. Lipids Health Dis, 2019;18(145)
 Guo X, Yang B, Cai W, et al. Effect of sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) on blood lipid profiles: A systematic review and meta-analysis from 11 independent randomized controlled trials. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 2017;61:1-10.
 Trico D, Mengozzi A, Nesti L, et al. Circulating palmitoleic acid is an independent determinant of insulin sensitivity, beta cell function and glucose tolerance in non-diabetic individuals: a longitudinal analysis. Diabetologia, 2020;63(1):206-218.
 Nunes EA, Rafacho A. Implications of palmitoleic acid (palmitoleate) on glucose homeostasis, insulin resistance and diabetes. Curr Drug Targets, 2017;18(6):619-628.
 Bueno-Hernandez N, Sixtos-Alonso MS, Milke-Garcia M. Effects of Cis-palmitoleic acid (an omega-7 fatty acid) supplementation on inflammation and expression of HNF4y, HNF4a and IL-6 in patients with ulcerative colitis: a double-blind, randomized pilot study. Minerva gastroenterological e dietologica, 2017;63(3):257-63.