Sunflower Oil

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Sunflower Oil
  Evaluated for:
Effectiveness Rating Effectiveness Rating
Atopic dermatitis
+1 (Slight Evidence)
Tinea pedis
+1 (Slight Evidence)
Cholesterol lowering
0 (Unclear Effectiveness)

PRO (topical)

  • Where does the supplement come from?
    Sunflower seed oil comes from the see of the sunflower Helianthus annuus.
  • What is it used for?
    People have used the oil in foods as an alternative to saturated fat. The most effective use of sunflower seed oil has been topical to treat eczema and athletes foot
  • How effective is it?
    A special form of sunflower seed oil called Oleozon has been shown in a few studies to be as effective as the antifungal ketoconazole in the treatment of athlete’s foot. Topical sunflower seed oil has also been shown to maintain the hydration of the skin better than topical olive oil when used for massage.
  • What is the mechanism of action (if known)?
    This oil is high in vitamin E and linoleic acid, an omega-6 essential fatty acid. The mechanism of action topically is not well understood
  • Is it worth trying?
    Sunflower seed oil and creams can be tried for the treatment of eczema and athlete’s foot
  • How safe is it?
    This product is safe to use in food in usual amounts and topically

PRO (oral)

  • Sunflower oil as an oral supplement showed a modest decrease in total cholesterol and LDL, but the data appear flawed and unreliable.
  • There may be a weak anti-arrhythmic effect, but additional research is required.
  • No common adverse reactions were noted.


  • Studies of sunflower oil for reducing coronary artery disease risk, and total and LDL cholesterol, have yielded conflicting results. Sunflower oil is a source of omega-6 fatty acids, which the body uses to generate pro-inflammatory responses such as for fighting infection. Small amounts of omega-6’s are beneficial, even essential, but the large quantities of omega-6s, employed primarily to increase shelf life, in processed food products have been linked to the rising prevalence of chronic, inflammatory diseases.
  • A number of studies comparing sunflower oil with other oils have yielded concerning results. One study showed worse (higher) fasting blood sugars and higher insulin levels in type 2 diabetics who took sunflower oil. A comparison of sunflower vs. canola oil showed lower levels of the omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which has beneficial anti-inflammatory effects, in the sunflower oil branch. A comparison of sunflower vs. fish oil showed more atherosclerotic plaques with thinner fibrous capsules and more inflammation in the sunflower oil branch. A comparison of sunflower vs. olive oil showed better blood pressure benefits with olive oil.

CONCLUSION:As an omega-6 essential fatty acid, sunflower seed oil should be consumed only in small amounts. It does appear, however, to be worth trying as a topical treatment for eczema and/or athlete’s foot.

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