Grapefruit Essential Oil: Uses, Benefits & Review

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grapefruit essential oil

One of the most useful natural weight loss product today is grapefruit, be it in juice form, the actual fruit itself, or its essential oil. This member of the citrus family has almost the same health properties and benefits as that of any other citrus fruit like lemon, tangerine, and lime. Today, grapefruit essential oil is highly regarded for its superb antioxidant properties but more so for its ability to burn fat and be of use in weight loss efforts.

Oil Sources

Grapefruit essential oil is extracted from its peel by the process of compression. The fruit is actually an accidental hybrid, a cross between the Indonesian pomelo, otherwise known as shaddock, and the Jamaican sweet orange. Among the uninitiated, it can be mistaken for the pomelo fruit itself. It has also been called the ‘forbidden fruit’ when it was discovered in 1750 by Rev. Griffith Hughes from Wales who documented the specimens he found in the island of Barbados.

Health Properties

The rich vitamin, mineral, and phytochemical contents of grapefruit essential oil give it the following health properties:

Antidepressant – Helps in the management of depression by enhancing the activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. 

Anti-inflammatory – Grapefruit essential oil helps reduce swelling and pain in a variety of inflammatory conditions such as those found in the skin, the joints, and the lungs as well as other body organs. 

Antilipidemic – Decreases the levels of triglycerides and low density lipoproteins which can have a beneficial effect on weight loss efforts as well as cardiovascular wellbeing. 

Anti-obesity – Provides an excellent fat-burning capacity by preventing the formation and development of fat cells or adipocytes leading to a reduction in the deposition of fatty tissues in the visceral and subcutaneous regions of the body. 

Antioxidant – One of the most important property of grapefruit is its antioxidant characteristics. This allows it to exert its potential antitumerogenic activity as well as its ability to slow down the effects of aging. 

Antiseptic – Helps kill harmful microorganisms which may be present in body surfaces and cavities such as the mouth, the skin, and the nasal passages. 

Antitumerogenic – Has the potential to inhibit the growth and proliferation of tumor cells by affecting the transcription of cancer genes leading to the death of the tumor cell. 

Appetite suppressant – While grapefruit juice is a well-known aperitif, its essential oil is known as an effective appetite suppressant which can help minimize the amount of food intake. This can also add to the weight loss benefit of the oil. 

Cardiotonic – Helps improve the overall condition of the heart particularly its rhythm and force of contraction. This allows the heart to be more efficient in the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the rest of the body. 

Cytophylactic – Helps enhance the growth and development of healthy cells as well as the faster healing and regeneration of damaged or injured cells. 

Disinfectant – Helps kill harmful microorganisms in inanimate objects. 

Diuretic – Increases the rate of urine production and excretion to help promote normal body fluids, a more balanced blood volume, reduction of blood pressure, and the removal or flushing of toxins and other harmful substances from the body. This latter function can also help in weight loss efforts as toxins have been implicated in the abnormal storage of fats in both visceral and subcutaneous areas of the body. 

Immunomodulator – Enhances the immune system by improving the sensitivity of immunoglobulins and other immune system cells in the recognition of potential threats to the body’s physiologic integrity. 

Lymphatic – Helps improve the flow of lymph throughout the body. This helps in the removal of toxins from the subcutaneous layer of the skin where toxins can aggravate the formation of cellulite. 

Stimulant – Helps stimulate a variety of physiologic system through activation of the autonomic nervous system. This can also help enhance the mobilization and utilization of fat because of increased metabolism. 

Tonic – Brings about a general sense of health and wellbeing.

Health Benefits

The foregoing health properties of grapefruit essential oil is what gives it the following health benefits:

Helps with weight loss efforts – Losing weight is made a lot easier with grapefruit primarily for its ability to block the adipogenic processes of the body. This helps prevent the unusual and unnecessary deposition of fat in the body while its stimulant effects allow it to increase its fat-burning abilities. Together with improved excretion or elimination of toxins via the lymphatics and the kidneys, grapefruit is truly a wonder oil in terms of weight loss.

Reduces blood pressure – One of the properties of grapefruit is that it is able to relax the smooth muscles of the blood vessels. This helps relieve the pressure exerted by the blood against vessel walls. In return, blood pressure is decreased. Together with its antihyperlipidemic property, it can be an invaluable asset in the management of cardiovascular risk

Lowers cholesterol – Grapefruit essential oil can lower the levels of both triglycerides and LDL-cholesterol which can be beneficial in the prevention of heart attack and stroke. Additionally, this can also aid in the reduction of the risk of other metabolic problems. 

Aids in the removal of toxins and other harmful substances – Its diuretic and lymphatic properties allow the oil to be used in detoxification treatments especially in terms of removal of broken down fat molecules. This can also add to an overall efficient weight loss ability. 

Enhances the immune system – The vitamin C as well as other minerals in the oil is essential in improving immune system functioning primarily in cell signaling. This gives the body superb protection against infections and other physiologic insults. 

Slows down effects of aging – The antioxidant effects of the oil is unquestionably one of its best assets. It’s effective in slowing down the effects of aging and hence, can be essential in the management of wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots as well as other degenerative issues. 

Improves skin health – Studies show that vitamin C helps enhance the synthesis of collagen, a protein that is essential to normal healthy skin. This means that grapefruit EO is excellent in the management of a variety of skin conditions particularly acne, eczema, and psoriasis.

Studies

Grapefruit essential oil is naturally rich in limonene as well as Vitamin C and other vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that give it its many surprising health benefits.

Perhaps one of the most sought after benefit of grapefruit oil is its ability to help individuals shed or lose unwanted pounds off their bodies. There are a variety of ways in which grapefruit is thought to exert its antiobesity effects. In a 2010 study by Haze, Sakai, Gozu, and Moriyama, they described the ability of grapefruit essential oil in inhibiting or in attenuating the process of adipogenesis or the formation or development of fat cells. The study pointed to 3 possible explanations.

The first is in the inhibition of the accumulation of triglyceride molecules that serve as the building blocks for the development or formation of fat cells. Because triglycerides are prevented from binding to their specific receptors, they are not able to form fat cells or adipocytes. The second mechanism is by inhibiting or suppressing the expression or activation of glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, an enzyme needed to convert fatty acid building blocks into adipocytes. Without this enzyme, there will be no fat cells formed. The Haze et al study revealed that grapefruit essential oil can decrease the enzymatic action of G6PDH by as much as 70 percent.  The third mechanism is by increasing the concentration of calcium ions inside the cells which suppresses the expression of a particular gene responsible for adipogenesis.

These combination of biochemical processes have many implications on overall health and wellbeing, proof that grapefruit essential oil could very well be one of the best oils around. Since it effectively blocks the accumulation of triglycerides, this can have significant implications in hyperlipidemic conditions. This can then have an impact on the development of cardiovascular risk associated with elevated blood lipids.

However, the implications are in the loss of weight itself as a result of the fat-inhibiting property of grapefruit. Because it does not allow the formation or development of fat cells through the 3 mechanisms, it can be an invaluable tool in individuals wanting to lose weight. This also has implications in the development of obesity-related metabolic and cardiovascular disorders.

The abnormal deposition of fat in both the visceral and subcutaneous regions of the body has been shown to drastically increase body weight as well as total body fat percentage. This can have serious ramifications as increased body fat can lead to the development of cardiac conditions such as coronary artery disease leading to a heart attack. In some cases, the person may have difficulty breathing because fat pads of tissues are restricting the movement of the accessory muscles of respiration and the diaphragm, the main muscle of respiration. When there is excessive fat in the abdominal area, the diaphragm cannot contract sufficiently to allow for the maximum expansion of the lungs. This leads to reduced lung compliance and a resultant decrease in the amount of oxygen reaching the lungs and into the rest of the body.

Additionally, the reduced oxygen supply together with the formation of fat deposits in the inner walls of major arteries can then lead to cerebrovascular attack or a myocardial infarction. These can be managed by the introduction of grapefruit essential oil as it can help prevent the uncontrolled buildup of fat. For weight loss fanatics, this is indeed great news. However, for individuals who are at a high risk for developing a heart attack or a stroke can greatly benefit from this particular property of grapefruit oil.

In relation to the fat-busting capacity of grapefruit, it has also been shown in the study of Tanida, Niijima, Shen, Nakamura, and Nagai in 2005 that this particular oil can effectively lower blood pressure by affecting the flexibility of blood vessels allowing the smooth muscles in the tunica media of the arteries to relax. This releases the excessive pressure against the walls of the arteries which is what is reflected as high blood pressure. Relaxing these muscles therefore, leads to decreased blood pressure.

Everyone knows grapefruit as a very powerful antioxidant thanks to its limonene content. While antioxidant activity is closely related to healthy looking skin and hair, it has a more important effect on the body in terms of cancer prevention. Crowell, Siar Ayoubi, and Burke discovered in 1996 that limonene, which essentially makes up 70 percent of grapefruit oil, can help prevent the development of cancers of the pancreas, prostate glands, and the breast. It is believed that the oil can prevent the conversion of certain tumor cell growth proteins which leads to the death of the tumor cell. It is also possible that grapefruit can increase the expression of a particular growth factor that allows for the transformation of the cancerous cells into more benign or harmless forms. The study did, nevertheless, recommended further investigation into the matter.

Uses

Grapefruit essential oil is often indicated in the management of the following conditions.

Weight loss – GFEO is primarily indicated in enhancing weight loss efforts especially when combined with exercise and sensible dieting. The ability of the oil to block the formation or development of adipocytes while enhancing the fat-burning processes of the body help reduce body weight. 

Eczema and other skin problems – Its antioxidant and cytophylactic property allows grapefruit to be particularly helpful in the management of eczema, psoriasis, acne, and oily skin. It is also effective as a general skin toner. 

High cholesterol – Studies show that grapefruit can significantly reduce both LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels in persons who have high cholesterol levels. It can also reduce the level of total cholesterol while improving the ratio between HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. 

Mild to moderate hypertension – While it is not as potent as antihypertensive drugs, its diuretic effects allow it to reduce blood volume to reduce blood pressure. Add to this its ability to relax the smooth muscles of the blood vessels and you can have a safer alternative to antihypertensive medications. 

Baldness – One of the remarkable indications of grapefruit essential oil is in the promotion of hair growth as part of its antioxidant and stimulant properties. This oil can help in the management of alopecia areata which is one of the most common types of baldness. 

Other health problems – Grapefruit essential oil has also been shown to be effective in preventing cancer, managing headaches, alleviating stress and depression, and combatting infections particularly yeast infections among women.

Nutritional Information

The essential oil of grapefruit is naturally rich in Vitamins C, B-complex, and E including choline necessary for brain and nervous system development. It also contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, manganese, and zinc. It contains pectin and lycopene, the latter of which is highly regarded for its antioxidant activities. Studies have shown that grapefruit oil can significantly improve the cholesterol profile of individuals with dyslipidemia by lowering total and low density lipoprotein cholesterol levels as well as those of triglycerides.

Grapefruit essential oil also contains limonene, linalool, neryl acetate, myrcene, alpha pinene, geraniol, sabinene, terpinol, decyl acetate, and citronellal.

Side Effects

Grapefruit essential oil is considered as safe for consumption. However, because of its high acidity, it may be a bit irritating to the skin if applied topically and you are going to go out in the sun. As such, it should not be applied if you are going to go outdoors. Regarding its use among pregnant and breastfeeding women, there is no conclusive evidence to show or refute its safety. Because of this, it is a lot better not to use any essential oil if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Grapefruit essential oil can be a really beneficial oil for a variety of health purposes. Wouldn’t you agree?

Reference

1.Carrasquerro, A., Maythe, S., and N. P. Beatriz (1998). Antioxidant activity of grapefruit seed extract on vegetable oils. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 77(4): 463-467.
2.Crowell, P. l., Siar, A. A., and Y. D. Burke (1996). Antitumorigenic effects of limonene and perillyl alcohol against pancreatic and breast cancer. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. 401: 131-136
3.Hay, I. C., Jamieson, M., and A. D. Ormerod (1998). Randomized trial of aromatherapy – successful treatment for alopecia areata. Archives of Dermatology. 134(11): 1349-1352
4.Haze, S., Sakai, K., Gozu, Y., and M. Moriyama (2010). Grapefruit oil attenuates adipogenesis in cultured subcutaneous adipocytes. Planta Medica. 76(10): 950-955
5.Ivoke, N., Oqbonna, P. C., Ekeh, F. N., Ezenwaji, N. E., Atama, C. I., et al (2013). Effects of grapefruit (Citrus paradise MACF) (Rutaceae) peel oil against developmental stages of Aedes aegypti (Dipteri: Culicidae). Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health. 44(6): 970-978
6.Misharina, T. A. and A. L. Samusenko (2008). Antioxidant properties of essential oils from lemon, grapefruit, coriander, clove, and their mixtures. Prikladnaia Biokhiimia i Mikrobiologiia. 44(4): 482-486
7.Tanida, M., Niijima, A., Shen, J., Nakamura, T., and K. Nagai (2005). Olfactory stimulation with scent of essential oil of grapefruit affects autonomic neurotransmission and blood pressure. Brain Research. 1058(1-2): 44-55

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