Weight Gain

Does Evening Primrose Oil Cause Weight Gain?

People tout evening primrose oil, a popular dietary supplement, for its various health benefits. Among these benefits is its potential to promote weight loss, but some people have raised concerns that it may actually cause weight gain. In this article, we will explore the scientific evidence on the effects of evening primrose oil on body weight and discuss whether it is likely to cause weight gain.

What is Evening Primrose Oil?

The extraction of seeds from the evening primrose plant (Oenothera biennis), a wildflower native to North America, yields evening primrose oil (EPO). The oil has a high concentration of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential omega-6 fatty acid that the body converts into prostaglandins, hormone-like substances with various physiological effects.

Indigenous peoples have used EPO for centuries for medicinal purposes, and today, manufacturers widely offer it as a dietary supplement in the form of capsules, softgels, and liquids. It markets itself as a natural remedy for various health conditions, including eczema, rheumatoid arthritis, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and menopausal symptoms.

does evening primrose oil cause weight gain

Does Evening Primrose Oil Cause Weight Gain?

The idea that evening primrose oil may cause weight gain is based on the fact that it is a source of fat and calories. One tablespoon of EPO contains about 120 calories and 14 grams of fat, which is more than the equivalent amount of olive oil. Some people worry that taking EPO as a supplement may lead to excess calorie intake and weight gain.

However, limited scientific evidence supports the claim that EPO causes weight gain. In fact, some studies suggest that it may actually have the opposite effect and promote weight loss.

A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that overweight women who took a combination of EPO and fish oil supplements for 12 weeks lost more weight and body fat than those who took a placebo. Another study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology found that overweight men who took EPO supplements for 12 weeks had a significant decrease in body weight and body fat compared to a control group.

It’s worth noting that researchers need to conduct more studies to determine the effects of EPO on weight loss in different groups of people, as the existing studies were relatively small and focused on specific populations.

Factors That Affect Weight Gain

A variety of factors, including genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors, can influence weight gain. Genetics play a significant role in determining a person’s body weight and composition. Some people may have a genetic predisposition to gain weight easily. While others may have a faster metabolism and struggle to gain weight.

Lifestyle factors such as diet and physical activity also play a crucial role in weight gain. Consuming more calories than the body needs can lead to weight gain over time. While physical activity can help burn excess calories and promote weight loss.

Environmental factors such as access to healthy food options, socioeconomic status, and stress levels can also affect weight gain. Limited access to nutritious food options can lead to poor dietary choices. And weight gain, while high levels of stress can lead to emotional eating and weight gain.

How Evening Primrose Oil Works

The evening primrose plant, native to North America, yields evening primrose oil (EPO) from its seeds. It contains a high amount of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid that the body converts into prostaglandins, hormone-like substances that regulate various bodily functions.

Researchers believe that EPO increases prostaglandin production with anti-inflammatory effects, thus reducing inflammation. It may also improve skin health by reducing inflammation and promoting hydration.

Moreover, some researchers suggest that EPO positively affects hormonal balance, especially in women. It may help alleviate premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms such as breast tenderness, bloating, and mood swings, and also reduce the severity of hot flashes in menopausal women.

does evening primrose oil cause weight gain

Other Benefits of Evening Primrose Oil

In addition to its potential effects on weight loss, evening primrose oil has been studied for its many other health benefits. Some of these include:

  1. Relieving PMS Symptoms: Studies have shown that EPO helps alleviate premenstrual syndrome symptoms, including breast pain, bloating, and mood swings.
  2. Reducing Inflammation: The GLA in EPO has anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce inflammation in the body and improve conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and eczema.
  3. Improving Heart Health: EPO may help lower cholesterol levels and improve blood vessel function, which can reduce the risk of heart disease.
  4. Supporting Brain Function: The omega-6 fatty acids in EPO are important for brain function and may help improve cognitive performance.
  5. Enhancing Skin Health: Studies have shown that EPO improves skin hydration and elasticity. Which can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and other signs of aging.

Side Effects and Precautions

Like any dietary supplement, evening primrose oil can cause side effects in some people. These may include stomach upset, headache, nausea, and diarrhea.

Interactions with Other Drugs and Supplements

When taking medications or supplements, it is important to be aware of potential interactions that could occur between them. These interactions can affect how the medications or supplements work in the body and may cause harmful side effects.

Some drugs may interact with other drugs by increasing or decreasing their effectiveness. Or by altering how they are metabolized in the body. For example, taking certain antibiotics with certain blood thinners can increase the risk of bleeding. Similarly, taking certain medications for depression with certain painkillers can increase the risk of serotonin syndrome.

Supplements can also interact with drugs and other supplements. For example, taking vitamin E supplements along with blood thinners can increase the risk of bleeding. Similarly, taking St. John’s Wort supplements with certain antidepressants can decrease the effectiveness of the medication.

Benefits of Evening Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil has been used for a variety of health conditions, including PMS, menopause, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis. Here are some potential benefits of taking evening primrose oil:

1.Reduces inflammation

GLA has anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce pain and swelling associated with conditions. Such as rheumatoid arthritis, eczema, and other inflammatory diseases.

2.Relieves PMS and menopause symptoms

Evening primrose oil has been shown to help relieve symptoms such as breast pain, bloating, and irritability associated with PMS and menopause.

3.Improves skin health

GLA is essential for maintaining the structure and function of cell membranes. Which helps to keep skin healthy and prevent dryness and other skin conditions.

4.May aid in weight loss

As previously mentioned, some studies have shown that GLA supplementation may lead to weight loss and improved insulin sensitivity.

does evening primrose oil cause weight gain


In conclusion, there is currently no scientific evidence to suggest that evening primrose oil causes weight gain. While some studies have explored the potential benefits of this supplement for various health conditions. Including premenstrual syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis, none have reported significant weight gain as a side effect.

However, it is important to note that individual responses to supplements can vary and that weight gain can be influenced by a variety of factors, including diet and exercise habits. Therefore, anyone considering taking evening primrose oil or any other supplement should consult with a healthcare provider to determine the best course of action based on their individual needs and medical history.


Does evening primrose oil add weight?
No, evening primrose oil does not add weight. It may actually aid in weight loss by reducing inflammation and promoting a healthy metabolism.

Does evening primrose oil make you lose weight?
There is currently no scientific evidence to suggest that evening primrose oil promotes weight loss. Its benefits are primarily related to skin health and inflammation.

What happens if you take evening primrose oil everyday?
Taking evening primrose oil every day may potentially provide health benefits. Such as improving skin health, reducing inflammation, and regulating hormonal balance.

Does evening primrose oil brighten skin?
There is no conclusive scientific evidence that evening primrose oil can brighten skin. But it may have some anti-inflammatory properties that could benefit the skin.

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