What is Squalene?

Squalene is an isoprenoid hydrocarbon which is produced in our bodies and also found in nature. It is an excellent antioxidant that has enormous medical applications for humans. Its pure form is a colourless, almost tasteless and transparent. It is synthesized in humans and also in a wide array of organisms and substances, from sharks to olives and even bran. Olive oil contains squalene in concentration of 0.4 - 0.7 %.

However, the best source of squalene is the liver of the deep-sea shark. Deep-dwelling shark produces the highest yield of good-quality squalene, some swim at depths exceeding 3000 m. It is believed that without sunlight and poor oxygen supply sharks can survive this harsh environment because of their gigantic liver which makes up approximately 70% of a shark’s internal organs. This oversized liver contains between 50% and 70% squalene. Squalene is a source of energy for the sharks and allows them to live at these depths and thrive in an environment that is harsh and oxygen-poor.

Squalene’s cytoprotective activity, antioxidant property, cholesterol lowering property and effect of squalene on testosterone level, obesity and high blood pressure are detailed. Rapid transdermal absorption, creation of moisture barrier, high spreadability, non-greasy texture and antibacterial properties of squalene make it an excellent skin protector and finds application against eczema and in anti-aging and wrinkle protecting products. The most exciting application of squalene for human health is its use as a safe and naturally occurring antioxidant.

Squalene is also present in high concentrations in the skin and the fat cells of humans. It is a strong antioxidant that helps our cells to avoid oxidative stress and prevents lipid peroxidation. It acts as an immune booster and has the ability to protect cellular structures and improve cellular repair response. It regulates the rate of synthesis of HMG Co-A reductase enzyme. Its anticancer and cholesterol-lowering activities are shown in various studies.

About 60 percent of dietary Squalene is absorbed in the humans. It is transported in serum usually in connection with very low density lipoproteins and distributed all over in human tissues, with the highest concentration in the skin. It is one of the main constituent of skin surface lipids.

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