What is Gamma Oryzanol?

Deborah Walker

Gamma oryzanol is an anti-oxidant rich vegetable oil that is used to lower cholesterol and manage menopause symptoms among others. It has been used medicinally in Japan since the 1960s. Some athletes use gamma oryzanol to promote muscle growth. This oil does not have any known side effects and is considered safe for most adults when taken in recommended doses. The safety of this oil for pregnant or nursing women and children has not been determined.

Some studies show that gamma oryzanol may help ameliorate hot flashes among menopausal women.
Some studies show that gamma oryzanol may help ameliorate hot flashes among menopausal women.

In the mid-1950s, gamma oryzanol was isolated and extracted from rice bran oil. It was found to stimulate endorphin release. In 1962, Japan began using the oil to treat anxiety. About ten years later, it started being used to treat hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. In the 1980s, the product was approved as a treatment for high cholesterol and triglycerides.

Symptoms of menopause can sometimes be managed by gamma oryzanol.
Symptoms of menopause can sometimes be managed by gamma oryzanol.

Athletes, especially bodybuilders, sometimes take gamma oryzanol to speed muscle growth. It is thought to work by raising levels of testosterone and growth hormones. A small, nine-week, double-blind research study revealed, however, that 500 mg of gamma oryzanol per day did not improve muscle growth, raise hormone levels, or increase performance at all.

Gamma oryzanol may be used to lower high cholesterol.
Gamma oryzanol may be used to lower high cholesterol.

Some very small, open research studies showed that 70% of patients experiencing menopausal symptoms had about a 50% reduction in hot flashes. Gamma oryzanol is believed to reduce leutinizing hormone secretion and increasing endorphin release. Scientists still need to do more research into this oil and its effects on menopause in order to fully understand how it can help patients.

A pregnant woman needs to check with her doctor before taking gamma oryzanol.
A pregnant woman needs to check with her doctor before taking gamma oryzanol.

A very limited number of studies on humans seem to show that this oil reduces bad cholesterol and triglycerides. It also appears to raise the good, high-density lipoproteins. Researchers think that the oil may work by making the digestive tract less able to absorb cholesterol.

Consumers can purchase this product at health food stores, local markets, or online. It generally comes in 30 mg and 60 mg tablets. The typical dosage listed on the product label for men is 120 mg once a day. For women, the recommended dosage is usually 60 mg once a day. The pills should be taken on an empty stomach or at least three hours after a meal.

This compound is not known to interact with any other medications and is assumed to be safe for the average adult. Any woman who is pregnant or nursing should not take gamma oryzanol without checking with her doctor first. Children should not take this product. Anyone thinking about adding gamma oryzanol to his or her supplement regimen may want to consult with a qualified physician first.

A doctor should be consulted before a person takes gamma oryzanol.
A doctor should be consulted before a person takes gamma oryzanol.

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