What’s Emu Oil All About, Anyway?
By Karin Krisher
Last week we took a look at two popular fatty acid-containing substances: fish oil and coconut oil. Because omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids will always be on our list of favorite, must-have supplements, this week sees us examining a growing trend.
So, what is emu oil all about?
Let’s start with the basics. Emu oil is derived from a fatty portion of the back of the emu bird, which is a giant beast of an animal raised the world over as livestock.
Because emus benefit the land they live on, and because every part of an emu is used for food, supplementation or otherwise, they are generally considered a wise livestock choice.
Emus have been commercially farmed since around 1990, but Aboriginal Australians killed the giant birds for food and were adamant about using every part of the bird in that process. Today, using every part of the bird is still considered good practice. The meat is incredibly lean and the oils are renowned for their supportive properties.
What’s in it?
In short, fatty acids. The oil contains about 42% oleic acid and 21% each linoleic and palmitic acid. It also contains antioxidants like flavones and carotenoids.
Most often, those words are associated with plants – and interestingly, emu oil does act more like a plant oil than an oil harvested from animal fats.
Its fatty acid profile is very similar to that of our skin cells. Importantly, emu oil doesn’t contain phosphorous molecules, unlike many animal fat oils.
Our skin is phospholipid deficient, meaning an oil containing phosphorous molecules won’t penetrate it. It stands to reason, then, that emu oil does penetrate our seven layers of skin. It also moves through cells more easily than do many animal fats, thereby acting a bit more like olive oil than animal fat.
One downfall of that penetration potential is that emu oil can carry other substances with it through the skin – so don’t apply when you have poison ivy, and always apply to clean skin.
Aside from fatty acids, emu oil also contains sapogens that support moisturizing, terpines that can support anti-septic activity, and vitamins A and E.*
Emus: Man’s best friend?
Emu oil, because it is so close in profile to our skin, supports all sorts of bodily functions.* But it can also be supportive when taken internally, as many pet owners know.*
In both humans and dogs, emu oil offers support for:
• skin elasticity and softness*
• wound healing*
• healthy inflammatory responses*
• hair/coat shine and appearance*
• joint health*
Have you or your pets tried emu oil as a supplement or skin conditioner? What was your experience like? We’d love to hear about it on our Facebook page!