5 Ways Safflower Oil Helps in Weight Loss (Science Backed)

We are living in a world where half of the population is dying in the scarcity of food whereas other half is dying in abundance of food.

Overweight or obesity is a major problem than malnutrition as it is a risk factor for diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and many more.

Weight gain is generally accompanied by the accrual of abdominal fats that surrounds the vital organs and drives the vicious cycle of insulin resistance, inflammation and further visceral fat deposition.

Hence weight loss at appropriate time

What is Safflower oil?

Safflower oil is extracted from plant Carthamus tinctorius which is an annual crop native to Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

It is also known as Kusum in India which is one of the largest producers of safflower in the world. It is used as an artist’s solvent, hair conditioning agent, as a spice and also an ingredient in varnishing industry.

There are two kinds of safflower oil- one type is rich in oleic acid whereas other is the rich source of linoleic acid.

Both these oils are important for health and weight loss; we will go through them one by one. It also contains high concentrations of omega-6 fatty acid but lacks omega-3 fats.

How Safflower Oil helps in Weight Loss

Safflower oil can help in weight loss in several ways. Safflower oil is known to suppress appetite significantly if taken in certain doses. It helps in oxidation of fats in the body, thus causing weight loss. It also helps in reducing blood sugar levels. Another benefit is improved lipid profile (HDL / LDL balance). Lastly, it modifies energy metabolism to reduce energy intake.

5 Ways Safflower Oil Helps in Weight Loss (Science Backed)

The benefits are explained in detail below –

1. Help in Suppression of Appetite

Apart from hard work and physical exercise, amount of calories should also be monitored in a weight loss program. The calories intake is directly proportional to the pounds gain [1].

A study on young men revealed that 1254kJ dose of safflower oil was able to suppress food intake significantly as compared to control.  The oil was unable to show as much effect as sucrose at a lower dose [2].

Another randomized controlled trial showed 1.8 -3.6 g of supplementation of conjugated linoleic acid per day in overweight adults for 13 weeks favourably decreased appetite (hunger, satiety and fullness). The study further emphasized that regular consumption of the acid helped in improving body-weight maintenance after weight loss [3].

Free fatty acid like oleic acids delay gastric emptying but can stimulate cholecystokinin [4] and peptide YY levels and hence suppresses appetite [5].

What does this mean?

Safflower oil suppresses the calorie intake and avoids excess eating. It can delay in emptying of stomach and this helps in prevention from gaining extra fats.

2. Helps in Reducing Blood Sugar Levels

Overweight or obesity is highly correlated with and a risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes [6].

A known and a familiar way to manage diabetes is weight loss, which can improve insulin sensitivity [7].

In simpler words, greater weight loss is associated with more improvement in general, greater weight loss has been associated with a larger magnitude of improvement in glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) and fasting glucose concentrations [8].

A cross-sectional study revealed an association between conjugated linoleic acid and insulin regulation [9].

Further pieces of evidence were gathered by a randomized study on 35 women suggests conjugated linoleic acid present in safflower oil successfully reduces glycemic levels which in turn reduces adiposity and causes weight loss [10].

Another review suggests putative mechanisms of conjugated linoleic acid in reducing blood glucose levels is that it activates transcriptional factors and enhances production of insulin [11].

What does this mmean?

Linoleic acid present in safflower oil enhances insulin sensitivity and helps in reducing blood sugar levels which in turn helps in losing weight.

3. Helps in Oxidation of Fats

Weight gain is accompanied by fat accumulation around the belly and other visceral organs.  Accretion of the fat marks the vicious cycle of weight gain.

This makes burning of fats an important indicator of weight loss [12]. Reduction of fat through various ways can effectively reduce weight.

Conjugated linoleic acid supplementation in Wistar rats decreased body fat and body composition [13]. Another study have shown supplementation of linoleic acid for 24 months decreased bone mineral mass [14] significantly in overweight humans and also reduced weight in long-term [15] [16].

A high omega-6/omega-3 ratio is strongly associated with obesity; a balance ratio decreases the weight gain and obesity [17].

It is necessary to make efforts to decrease the omega-6 fatty acid levels and increase omefa-3 fatty acid levels simultaneously to restore the balance in ratio. Few studies suggest safflower oil should be avoided as it is high in omega-6 fatty acid and its consumption brings imbalance in ratio [18].

Long term supplementation of conjugated linoleic acid reduces body fat mass significantly in healthy obese adults[19].

What does this means?

Supplementation of safflower oil rich in linoleic acid can significantly reduce accumulation of fats and also reduce bone mineral mass leading to weight loss. Due to high amounts of omega-6, safflower oil should be avoided as it disturbs the ratio leading to obesity.

4. Helps in Improving Lipid Profile

Increased cholesterol levels (Low density lipoprotein) and decreased High density lipoprotein levels are positively associated with weight gain [20]. Improving lipid profile can not only help in reduction of weight but also prevents other cardiovascular problems [21].

Few studies have revealed that conjugated linoleic acid play a major role in lipid metabolism [22]. This lipid metabolism inhibits the entry of glucose molecules into adipocytes.

Conjugated acid increases the lipolysis in adipocytes and also declines the production of fatty acids [23].

The action of conjugated linoleic acid can further be elaborated by focusing its effect on gene manipulation [24]. It activates transcriptional factor (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors) that plays crucial role in storage and catabolism of fatty acid [25] [26].

Studies have found omega-6 fatty acid have drastically reduced cholesterol levels. Intervention group showed a reduction in serum cholesterol levels when compared with baseline and the control group [27].

What does this means?

Safflower oil helps in reducing the cholesterol levels by activating a transcriptional factor which can help in reduction of weight.

5. Modifies Energy Metabolism

Weight reduction takes place when amount of energy intake exceed energy expenditure. Conjugated linoleic acid reduces body fat mass either by decreasing energy uptake or increasing energy expenditure [28].

Several animal studies have demonstrated that consumption of linoleic acid can initiate apoptosis in adipose tissue leading to decrease in weight loss but didn’t increase energy expenditure significantly.

These effects can be seen as fast as 5 days after the consumption of the oil [29].

Linoleic acid safflower oil can affect gene expression of proteins regulating energy metabolism. The conjugated acid can activate receptors (peroxisome proliferator activated receptor) which can reduce brown and white adipose tissue mass in mice [30].

What does this means?

Linoleic acid helps in reducing the energy uptake but studies have not been able to collect sufficient evidences to support this fact yet.

Dosage of Safflower oil for Weight Loss

The amount of safflower oil consumption daily depends on the weight-loss calorie needs.

According to “Dietary Guidelines for Americans-2010”, a men following 1600 calorie weight loss plan, requires 5 teaspoon or 22 grams of oil per day whereas  a female consuming 1,200 calories needs about 4 teaspoons, or 17 grams, of oils daily [31].

The best way to consume safflower oil is by using the oil in cooking. Not much about the dosage is known. There have been limited clinical trials to support safflower oil dose.

Expert advice consumption of 10g of oil per day for 12 weeks can effectively reduce weight [32].

Another study revealed 9 capsules of safflower oil per day can produce 80 calories per day and constitutes 800mg of alpha linoleic acid, 160mg of oleic acid and 100mg of palmitic acid per capsule [33].

Precautions while using Safflower oil

Despite several benefits, safflower oil needs some precautions should be kept in mind before consummation.

Safflower oil needs to be avoided immediately after surgery as the oil acts as blood clotting process.

A specialist should be consulted before addling the oil to dietary constituent in patients taking anti-coagulant medications.

People allergic to safflower oil increase the risk of hemorrhaging.

People with an allergy to ragweed, daisies, sunflowers or marigolds, should avoid safflower oil.

Pregnant and lactating mothers should avoid taking it orally.

People having low blood pressure should avoid consuming the oil internally.

Lipid oxidation may result in some products like isoprostanes which may develop insulin resistance; hence care must be taken while consuming the safflower oil [34].

There are fake products available in the market, one need to be careful while buying it.


Obesity or over weight is risk to several diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, dyslipidemia, hormonal imbalance etc. It is necessary to control weight which is not easy as well.

Along with physical exercise and consumption of safflower oil can help to shed weight effectively and in lesser time. Safflower oil can suppress appetite and prevents from gaining extra calories which can contribute to weight gain.

The linoleic acid in safflower oil can enhance insulin resistance and activate lipolysis. It also helps in apoptosis of adipose tissue which help to shed pounds.

Oxidation of fats and by manipulation of energy metabolism safflower oil can effectively reduce weigh.

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