Argan oil is extracted from the kernels of the argan tree, which grows in the sandy semi-desert soil in Morocco. Traditionally, argan oil has been used as a dip for bread, as a dressing on couscous and salads, and it has also been used as a treatment for skin diseases. Argan oil contains high levels of vitamin E (tocopherols), carotenes, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids.
Depending on the method of extraction, it may also be more resistant to oxidation than even olive oil (an oil renowned for its relative stability). In addition to its continuing popularity in skin creams, argan oil has recently been researched for its reduction in the risk factors of cardiovascular disease.
Argan Oil and Cardiovascular Disease
It has become generally accepted in the literature that argan oil reduces cardiovascular disease risk, and that it can be used to prevent risk factors for atherosclerosis. Studies examining the effects of supplementation found that people taking argan oil had higher vitamin E levels, approximately 10% lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, and nearly 12% lowered triglycerides. In Type II diabetics with dyslipidemia, it was also found to have a lasting antioxidant effects that protected against further oxidation of fats in the body even after supplementation had been ceased. The alteration of blood lipid profiles and the increase in antioxidant status both work together to help prevent atherosclerosis and resulting cardiovascular disease.