Most people have heard of shark liver oil and maybe even a substance called squalene oil, but most of us couldn’t tell you what the benefits of these two substances are. As it turns out shark liver oil and squalene oil are packed with health nourishing compounds and have been a part of the traditional diets of many cultures around the world. Squalene is a substance that is found in varying concentrations in almost all plants and animals including humans.
New born babies have the highest levels of squalene in their body, with natural production decreasing as we enter middle age. Squalene oil is needed for the body to synthesize hormones, cholesterol, and vitamin D. Squalene also plays a role in many other functions of the body. Squalene is made in the liver and the skin, with the highest concentrations being found in the liver tissue.
What is squalene oil?
Squalene oil is found in high concentration in the liver of sharks and most squalene supplements today are derived from shark liver oil. Recently more plant sources of squalene are available as squalene is also abundant in olives and in lesser amounts in amaranth seeds, rice bran, and wheat germ.
Because of the high consumption of olives and olive oil in the Mediterranean diet, according to Wikipedia, “squalene has been proposed to be an important part of the Mediterranean diet as it may be a chemopreventive substance that protects people from cancer”.
The average American diet contains around 30mg of squalene oil per day while people who follow Mediterranean diet recommendations usually ingest between 200-400mg of squalene per day. Additionally, taking a statin or cholesterol lowering medication greatly inhibits the body’s natural ability to produce squalene. So if you take a cholesterol lower drug supplementing with squalene oil or trying to increase dietary sources would be beneficial to health.
Squalene oil is one of the most common lipids produced by human skin cells and is an excellent moisturizer for the skin. Because it is a natural moisturizer it is therefore used freely by the cosmetic industry in numerous products from lotion to make-up.
Squalene also acts as a protectant for the skin, helping to minimize oxidative damage from exposure to UV rays. Because it nourishes and protects the skin from the inside out, it is often referred to as an antiaging substance.