Soybean oil is produced from the seeds of the soybean plant.
Plant sterols, chemicals derived from soybean oil, are used to lower total cholesterol and “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Specially processed soybean oil is used to treat osteoarthritis.
Some people apply soybean oil directly to the skin to repel mosquitoes and other insects.
Soybean oil is also used as a nutritional supplement in intravenous feedings.
How does it work?
Soybean oil works to lower cholesterol levels by decreasing cholesterol absorption in the gut. Specific processed parts of soybean oil called unsaponifiables may have a beneficial effect on joints.
- Use as a nutritional supplement in intravenous feedings.
Likely Effective for:
- Preventing mosquito bites when applied to the skin. Soybean oil is an ingredient in some commercial mosquito repellents. It seems to work about as well as some other mosquito repellents including some products that contain a small amount of DEET.
Possibly Effective for:
- Lowering cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol. Soybean oil plant sterols used in margarine seem to help lower total cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol without affecting “good” HDL. The FDA has allowed the makers of the products Take Control and Benecol to include this claim on their labels.
- Osteoarthritis, when a specific processed part of the oil (unsaponifiable fractions) is used in combination with avocado oil. This combination seems to significantly improve pain and overall disability. It appears to work better for osteoarthritis of the hip than the knee.
Side Effects & Safety
Soybean oil is safe for most adults when taken by mouth in amounts normally found in food and when applied to the skin as an insect repellent in recommended amounts. Pharmaceutical quality soybean oil is also safe when used as a nutritional supplement in intravenous feedings. The processed soybean oil (unsaponifiable fractions of soybean oil) has been used safely in research studies for up to 6 months.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Soybean oil is safe for pregnant and breast-feeding women when used as part of the diet. But the safety of soybean oil during pregnancy and breast-feeding is not known when used in amounts greater than those commonly found in foods.
Peanut or soybean allergy: People who are allergic to peanuts, soybeans and other plants that are members of the Fabaceae/Leguminosea family might also be allergic to soybean oil.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- In the form of an enriched margarine, such as Take Control, a serving size is one tablespoon, or 14 grams.
- For osteoarthritis: 300 mg soybean oil daily along with avocado oil.
- For preventing mosquito bites: 2% soybean oil products have been used. Directions on one commercial product (Bite Blocker) suggest reapplying every 2 hours.