Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) berries have been used traditionally in both food and medicines in China and animal experiments. The berries are rich in lipophilic nutrients in both the seeds and the soft parts (pulp/peel) and can have a protective, tissue-regenerative and anti-inflammatory effects on skin and mucosa. Scientists in Finland reveal that dietary supplementations with CO2-extracted sea buckthorn seed and pulp oils may have a positive effects on atopic dermatitis.
Research carried out at the Department of Biochemistry and Food Science Department of the University of Turku, Finland by Yang Baoru set out to investigate the characteristics of oils of seeds and berries of sea buckthorn of different origins, and the effects of harvesting time on the content and composition of lipophilic components in seeds and berries. Effects of supercritical CO2-extracted seed and pulpoils on atopic dermatitis were also investigated.
Results of the study suggested that the fatty acid composition of the seeds seems to be well buffered, withlinoleic, a-Iinolenic, oleic, palmitic, stearic, and vaccenic acids being the major ones. In thesoft parts, the dominating fatty acids were palmitoleic, palmitic, oleic, linoleic and vaccenicacids. High deviations were found in the proportion of palmitoleic acid in the soft parts.Berries (i.e. the soft parts) of subsp. mongolica were the best source of palmitoleic acidwith the lowest level of oleic acid among the three subspecies.
Seeds of subsp. mongolicawere a better source of tocopherols than seeds of subsp. sinensis. The study found that the content and composition of phytosterols in seeds, soft parts and whole berries were not significantly different between the subsp. sinensis and rhamnoides.
Of particular interest the results revealed that oil content, fatty acids and sterols in soft parts and whole berries were significantly influenced by harvesting time. The effects of annual variation on oil content and fatty acid composition were less pronounced compared with the influence of origin and berry picking date during the harvesting period within single years.
Dietary supplementations with CO2-extracted sea buckthorn seed and pulp oils showed positive effects on atopic dermatitis. The researchers suggest that the effects of the two oils may have been due to different mechanisms. a-Iinolenic acid in seed oil may have had a beneficial effect byaffecting the biosynthesis of eicosanoids. The high contents of carotenoids, tocopherolsand phytosterols may have been responsible for the beneficial effects of the pulp oil. However it isnot clear whether the high content of palmitoleic acid in the pulp oil has contributed to theimprovement of atopic dermatitis symptoms.
Much of the work already reported on sea buckthorn oils has been conducted in Russia or in China and reported in national journals in the local language. As a consequence these are virtually "lost" toEuropean an American scientists lacking appropriate language skills. Lead researcher Miss Yang, through herknowledge of these languages has reviewed about 200 of these papers. She is based at Food Science Department of the Universityof Turku, Finland.