Are Seed Oils Inflammatory? The Science Behind the Controversy

This video explores the question of whether seed oils are inflammatory and trigger inflammation. The journalist analyzes various studies to provide clarity on the topic. The research suggests that unheated seed oils, including flaxseed oil, canola oil, and sunflower seed oil, do not appear to be pro-inflammatory. Furthermore, heated seed oils and prolonged exposure to high heat may not significantly impact inflammation. The video also discusses the conversion of linoleic acid to arachidonic acid and its potential role in inflammation. Overall, the evidence suggests that seed oils themselves, when consumed in moderation, may not be inflammatory for most people. However, individual variability and genetic susceptibility should also be considered.

Author Icon

Our Summaries are written by our own AI Infrastructure, to save you time on your Health Journey!

How does this happen?

Key Insights:

  • There is no clear evidence to suggest that seed oils are pro-inflammatory.
  • Several studies have found no significant effect on inflammatory markers when consuming different types of seed oils, such as flaxseed oil, canola oil, sunflower seed oil, and soybean oil.
  • Meta-analyses also support the notion that seed oils do not have a significant impact on inflammation.
  • Studies exploring the effects of heated seed oils suggest that cooking with these oils does not increase inflammation.
  • There is a tight regulation of the conversion of linoleic acid (found in seed oils) into arachidonic acid, which can play an inflammatory role in the body.
  • Individual variability and potential genetic susceptibility may exist, but overall, seed oils are not considered pro-inflammatory for most people.
  • Seed oils should not be confused with junk food, which can contain seed oils but may have other unhealthy components.


Seed oils and their potential to trigger inflammation have become a highly debated topic. In this video, we will explore the scientific evidence to determine whether seed oils are inflammatory or not. While there are many questions about seed oils, we will focus exclusively on their effect on inflammation. It is important to note that personal feelings and emotional responses have no influence on our analysis. Our goal is to examine the scientific research and present the facts.

First, let’s look at the effect of different types of seed oils on inflammation. Some believe that all vegetable oils are inflammatory, while others argue that it’s specific to seed oils. Another perspective suggests that it depends on the content of omega-6 fatty acids, such as linoleic acid. To investigate these ideas, we will examine seed oils in increasing order of linoleic acid content.

Flaxseed oil, which is high in Omega-3 fatty acids and low in omega-6s, does not appear to be pro-inflammatory. Meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials have shown no significant effect on inflammation markers like C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. Some trials even reported a reduction in inflammatory markers when consuming flaxseed oil.

Next, we move on to canola oil, which is high in monounsaturated fats and contains about 18% linoleic acid. Research has shown no significant difference in CRP levels after consuming canola oil. Comparisons between canola oil and other fats, such as saturated fat or olive oil, also did not show any significant differences in inflammatory markers.

Sunflower seed oil, with its standard 20% linoleic acid content, has also been studied. Trial results indicate no significant changes in CRP levels after consuming sunflower seed oil. Comparisons to other oils and meta-analyses show consistent results, suggesting no impact on inflammatory markers.

Now let’s examine seed oils with higher linoleic acid contents, such as soybean oil, corn oil, and safflower oil. Trials using soybean oil have demonstrated no significant change in inflammatory markers, even with prolonged consumption, such as through parenteral nutrition. Meta-analyses on soybean oil have reached similar conclusions.

Corn oil, which contains 52% linoleic acid, has also shown no significant effect on inflammation markers in several trials. Comparative studies with corn oil and other oils did not highlight any differences in inflammatory markers.

Safflower oil, one of the seed oils with the highest linoleic acid contents (over 70%), has also been extensively studied. These trials consistently show no significant changes in CRP levels or other inflammatory markers.

It’s important to note that these conclusions are based on human trials, which provide more relevant insights into the impact of seed oils in our diets. Genetic studies suggest that there may be individual susceptibility to inflammation caused by seed oils, but further research is needed to understand the full extent of this susceptibility.

Heating seed oils is a common concern, so we also explored studies on heated seed oils. While there are fewer studies on this topic, those available show no significant differences in inflammation markers between heated and unheated seed oils. Studies involving deep-frying seed oils also did not consistently demonstrate an inflammatory effect.

It is worth considering that acute effects, which are observed shortly after a single meal, may differ from chronic effects. However, even studies with chronic consumption of seed oils did not reveal significant changes in inflammation markers.

Overall, the balance of evidence suggests that seed oils, both unheated and heated, do not have a significant pro-inflammatory effect. However, extreme exposures like deep-frying for extended periods or reusing oil multiple times may have an impact on inflammation markers.

The notion that seed oils can trigger inflammation may stem from the conversion of linoleic acid to arachidonic acid, which can exhibit pro-inflammatory effects. However, in humans, this conversion is tightly regulated and does not significantly alter arachidonic acid levels. Moreover, the net impact of omega-6 fatty acids and their metabolites on human metabolism is still not fully understood, as some metabolites exhibit anti-inflammatory properties.

It is crucial to approach scientific evidence with an open mind, test hypotheses, and not make assumptions based solely on biochemical pathways. While some genetic variations and individual susceptibilities may exist, the overall evidence does not support the claim that seed oils are generally inflammatory.

It is ultimately up to personal preference whether to include seed oils in one’s diet. For those who wish to moderate their intake of seed oils or prefer other alternatives, there are various healthy fat sources available. However, inflammation is not a convincing reason to avoid consuming seed oils based on the existing scientific evidence.

It is important to note that this analysis is focused on seed oils themselves and not processed foods that may contain seed oils. Differentiating between the two is essential as junk food, regardless of its oil content, has a distinct impact on health.

Studies included in this analysis were funded by a range of sources, such as government grants and academic institutions. While some were industry-funded, it is important to note that the overall conclusions remain consistent regardless of funding sources.

Individual variability exists in any field, and some people may have personal preferences or specific health conditions that warrant modifications in seed oil consumption. Nonetheless, the general scientific evidence suggests that seed oils are not pro-inflammatory.

It is paramount to approach this topic with a rational mindset and rely on evidence rather than emotional language and anecdotes propagated on social media. Scientific research provides a more comprehensive understanding and helps us make informed decisions about our health.