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Omega 3 Natural Fish Oil Squalene - Deep Sea Shark Liver Oil Extract
Introduction History & Discovery Sources and Properties Occurrence in Humans Cholesterol Metabolism Cancer Antioxidant Coronary Heart Diseases Skin Care Toxicity & Dosage References


Most healthy diets rich in good lipids contain squalene as a naturally occurring constituent (Rowland & Robson, 1986), especially one containing olive oil and deep sea shark liver oil (Heller et al., 1963). Squalene has unique ability to carry oxygen throughout the body without the help of haemoglobin. Being highly unsaturated, it contains 6 double bonds, and is extremely reactive to get into an oxidized state. Squalene extracts hydrogen from water and releases oxygen by the following reaction:

The released oxygen enhances cellular metabolism giving vitality and vigour and also prevents acidosis of cell. Rajesh & Lakshmanan (2009) reported antioxidant effect of dietary squalene on sodium arsenite-induced oxidative stress in rat myocardium. Squalene is not very susceptible to peroxidation and appears to protect skin from lipid peroxidation due to exposure of UV radiation and other oxidative damage (Wefers et al., 1991).

Human body produces a number of peroxides generated by autoxidation of fat present in foods consumed. These peroxides which are free radicals produce a large quantity of carbonyl compounds harmful to human body. But cells possess their own defense mechanisms consisting of antioxidants.
Antioxidants are very vital for health and they get oxidized at their expense and prevent damages by carbonyls. One of the well known antioxidant present in human body is vitamin E. Squalene is the best naturally occurring antioxidant which have no known side effects. A comparison of properties of squalene and vitamin E is given in Table 2.

Table 2. Comparison of properties of squalene and vitamin E

Squalene Vitamin E
A hydrocarbon, 30-carbon polyprenyl compound having 6 isoprene units An alcohol having 3 isoprene units called alpha- tocopherol (5,7,8-trimethyltocol).
Produced by human body, present in many tissues, rich in skin (McKenna, 1950). Squalene is available to human body both exogenously and endogenously. Depend on dietary sources, has to be supplied through food.
Once it enters human body, squalene abstracts hydrogen from water in cells and releases oxygen to cells (Atkins, 2002). Vitamin E has no such property
One of the strongest anti-oxidant found in nature (Kohno et al., 1995) and relatively stable to attack by free radicals as compared to Vitamin E Powerful anti-oxidant but unstable to attack by free radical compared to squalene.
Increases male potency and vitality by increasing production of male hormones. Has only the capacity to improve health.
Strongly attracted to the hydrophobic bond between the two lipid layers of the biomembrane, where lipid per-oxidation is the greatest. Can move freely through the biomembrane without altering the properties of the biomembrane Limited integration into the biomembranes and cannot move freely.
Can be used as an antidote to reduce drug toxicity (Kamimura et al., 1989) Cannot be used
Squalene is stable after neutralization with free radicals and hence can be recycled. Requires the use of other endogenous antioxidants like squalene for recycling
Have capacity to increase good cholesterol (HDL) and to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL). No such properties are reported.
Can tolerate uptake of up to 5g day-1 without any toxic effect. No side effects at low dosages
Unlike other antoxidants like Lycopene, Vitamin A & E, squalene can be stored in high concentration in body (skin and adipose tissues) Cannot be stored in high concentration

Low ionization threshold of squalene makes it an efficient donor of electrons without undergoing molecular disruption. This capacity makes squalene an excellent antioxidant. Oxidative damage of the skin starts at the surface induced by pro-oxidants which brings about oxidation of skin lipids (Ohsawa et al., 1984; Wefers et al., 1991).

Due to its presence in skin squalene can effectively scavenge free radicals (Kohno et al., 1995; Atkins, 2002; Das, 2005) from skin, one reason why squalene finds application as a skin moisturizer in cosmetics.


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