Over the past decade, the research unit I’m currently with has been busy exploring the multiple benefits of vegetable oils, especially Argane oil (or Argan oil), which is a vegetable oil extracted from the fruit of Argania spinosa (an endemic tree of South-western Morocco, the species is now endangered and under protection of UNESCO). The unit published quite a few papers about the oil’s properties in preventing cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Lately, another study was published in Natural Product Communications about its effect on the androgens’ levels in men. In Morocco, Argane oil is consumed raw, but can also be used in preparing meals or pastries (in other countries it is more famous for its cosmetic properties). Anyway, the oil is also reputed to have aphrodisiac properties in men, and I can only speculate and assume that the reason behind the study was to verify if there were any truth behind this reputation.
The study was carried out on healthy young men (<40 years old). Participants consumed 25 mL of vegetable oil per day (either Argane oil or Olive oil) during 3 weeks after a two weeks stabilization period during which they consumed 25 g of vegetable margarine.
The paper reports that testosterone (T) and luteinizing hormone (LH) levels significantly increased after a 3 weeks intervention. T concentration increased by 19.9% after using Argane oil and by 17.4% after using Olive oil, while LH concentrations increased by 18.5% after using Argane oil and by 42.6% after using Olive oil.
Most studies carried out on these vegetable oils attribute the benefit of their consumption to their unique composition of fatty acids and especially their high concentration in Vitamin E. Both oils have a fairly similar composition, however, Argane oil has a higher concentration of vitamin E (cf. table).
(VAO: virgin Argane oil, EVO: extra virgin Olive oil)
Derouiche et al. (2013). Effect of Argan and Olive Oil Consumption on the Hormonal Profile of Androgens Among Healthy Adult Moroccan Men. Natural Product Communications Vol. 8 P.151-153.