The squalene It is a substance that has been questioned until recently, but with different scientific trials that gave it beneficial properties and a massive use to improve the immune system after the application of a vaccine.
In this article we want to deepen in knowing what exactly this substance is, its origin (although it currently has several) and the benefits collected by the WHO (World Health Organization).
Where squalene is obtained from
The original squalene comes from the shark liver oil. However, due to the difficulties of obtaining sufficient quantities and seeking other purposes, they can also be obtained from plant sources such as wheat germ, rice bran or even olives.
Squalene is present in all animals, including humans, although there are notable differences between the origin of obtaining it.
Chemically, it is characterized as a terpene and a hydrocarbon.
Many drugs they carry linked adjuvant substances to strengthen the immune system. In the case of vaccines currently used against malaria or influenza outbreaks, it is interesting to use squalene for improve the performance of such a vaccine.
Benefits of its use
This substance, of natural origin, is present in tissues in all animals and in some plants. In sharks (preferably the shark), its concentration is higher, since it serves to regulate buoyancy, having a density lower than that of water. In fact, in this type of aquatic animal, the liver can occupy 1/4 of the internal space.
Initial studies saw a great response from squalene to reform the immune system and potent antioxidant activity. In addition, due to its characteristics as a hydrocarbon, it favors the generation of oxygen in tissues and organs.
Another interesting benefit is that its use hardly produces side effects, since it has organic origin.
Strengthens the immune system
This substance is commonly used (although not all) in vaccines, antibacterial treatments and antifungals. The goal is to increase the efficiency of our body in terms of the immune system.
This results in an increase in the white blood cell production to prevent the evolution of infection processes and reduce the progression of any disease through lymphocytes (T and NK).
An interesting function studied in the properties of squalene is its ability to reduce and free radical complex, associated with the process of cellular degeneration and oxidation. Where greater effects have been seen in this natural substance is on the inner face of the cell membrane, with an interesting role for its lubricating and structural action of fat tissue.
Its chemical characteristics such as hydrocarbon and terpene allow it to facilitate a greater supply of oxygen at the cellular level, so it is associated with a reduction in the processes of cell degeneration and diseases associated with cellular hypoxia.
Response to diabetes
Diabetes is currently one of the most studied diseases, due to its involvement in the Western population.
Although many medicinal plants and foods that favor the balance of sugar in the blood, beneficial indirect effects have also been seen with the use of squalene.
The properties associated with squalene and diabetes are referenced with a greater supply of oxygen and better blood circulation, especially at the capillary level. With this, it is possible to reduce inflammatory processes, a higher rate of healing and a greater regulation of glycemia.
Advantages of squalene over cholesterol
There are several scientific studies that support the effect of squalene on the increase in levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and, in turn, a reduction in cholesterol considered as bad (LDL).
This is because squalene is cycled by lanosterol cyclase to form lanosterol, which is a precursor to cholesterol. An increase in the levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) favors the reduction of low-density lipoproteins (LDL).
More information on substances against cholesterol:
Several scientific quality studies are being carried out to see the repercussions of different doses of squalene and the evolution of serious diseases linked to cancer.
Specifically, the cytotoxic activity of the elements commonly used in chemotherapy or radium is evaluated, and the tumor biological activity to favor cellular protection.
Although more information and advanced studies are still needed, scientists such as Harold L. Newmark and Theresa J. Smith claim that squalene possesses cytoprotective activity in this field.
The vegetable alternative
Although the greatest amount of squalene is produced in the animal kingdom, specifically in sharks (hence the name of the active ingredient), alternatives have also been found in the plant world.
In relation to the benefits obtained from the Mediterranean diet, it has been studied that various foods present in this diet contain significant concentrations of this element. Mainly, one of them is olive oil, with different substances such as sterols, antioxidant compounds such as carotenes, hydrocarbons (squalene) or alcohols that benefit health and prevent diseases.
One common diet in the Western world (2000 kcal), where proteins and fats are certainly abused and the body is deprived of the necessary amount of fiber, the average contribution of squalene is 30 mg.
The human being is capable of producing a significant amount of 1.5 g squalene daily. The scientific community has established a minimum intake dose of 400 mg/day of this substance if we want to obtain the benefits that we have previously commented.
The vegetable squalene is one of the most ecological and sustainable solutions as a source of squalene today, where the greatest concentration is found in the olive oil. In addition to this substance, it also provides other elements with antioxidant activity.
In the U.S., there was controversy when vaccines were given to U.S. Army soldiers in the Gulf War, who suffered noticeable side effects. However, of all the research conducted, there were no conclusions that squalene was involved in such reactions. In fact, it was not included in the components of the anthrax vaccine.
This substance can be found in some plant products or in marine animals, which is why it is so interesting eating fish.
At the vaccine level, when squalene is used, it is administered at a dose of 10 mg per injection, without significant risk for including this substance, including in at-risk patients aged over 65 years.
Likewise, clinical trials have also been carried out with this substance administered in Newborn and in the process of breastfeeding, without safety risks.