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Cetyl Myristoleate

What Should I Know About Cetyl Myristoleate?

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Updated August 12, 2013

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Cetyl myristoleate is a fatty acid sold in dietary supplement form. Said to reduce inflammation, cetyl myristoleate is touted as a natural treatment for a number of health conditions.

Health Benefits of Cetyl Myristoleate

Although research on the health effects of cetyl myristoleate is fairly limited, some studies show that it may aid in the treatment of osteoarthritis.

In a 2004 study published in the Journal of Rheumatology, for example, researchers found that use of a cream containing cetyl myristoleate helped improve functioning in people with osteoarthritis of the knee. For the study, 40 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee were randomly assigned to one of two treatments: a cream made with cetyl myristoleate, or a placebo cream. After 30 days of twice-daily treatment, those given cetyl myristoleate showed greater improvements in range of motion in their knees (as well as in balance, ability to ascend/descend stairs, and ability to rise from sitting).

Additionally, a 2002 study from the same journal found that consuming cetyl myristoleate in supplement form may help improve knee range of motion and overall function in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. The study involved 64 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, each of whom was treated with either cetyl myristoleate or a placebo for 68 days. Compared to members of the placebo group, those treated with cetyl myristoleate showed greater functional improvements by the study's end.

In tests on animals, scientists have determined that cetyl myristoleate may help treat arthritis by reducing inflammation.

Uses for Cetyl Myristoleate

Cetyl myristoleate is said to help treat the following health problems:

In treatment of arthritis, cetyl myristoleate is either taken in supplement form or applied directly to the skin (typically in the form of a cream).

Cetyl myristoleate is also said to boost the immune system.

Is Cetyl Myristoleate Safe?

Due to a lack of research, little is known about the safety of long-term use of cetyl myristoleate.

It should be noted that self-treating a chronic condition with cetyl myristoleate and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you're considering the use of cetyl myristoleate in treatment of a chronic condition, make sure to consult your physician.

Learn more about using dietary supplements safely.

Alternatives to Cetyl Myristoleate

A number of other natural remedies may help alleviate arthritis symptoms. For example, some studies show that increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids may help treat arthritis. There's also some evidence that dietary supplements like glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and avocado/soybean unsaponifiables may aid in arthritis management.

In addition, practicing yoga, taking up tai chi, and/or undergoing acupuncture may help curb arthritis pain and improve functioning.

Where To Find Cetyl Myristoleate

Widely available for purchase online, cetyl myristoleate is sold in some natural-foods stores, drugstores, and stores specializing in dietary supplements.

Sources

Ameye LG, Chee WS. "Osteoarthritis and nutrition. From nutraceuticals to functional foods: a systematic review of the scientific evidence." Arthritis Res Ther. 2006;8(4):R127.

Diehl HW, May EL. "Cetyl myristoleate isolated from Swiss albino mice: an apparent protective agent against adjuvant arthritis in rats." J Pharm Sci. 1994 Mar;83(3):296-9.

Hesslink R Jr, Armstrong D 3rd, Nagendran MV, Sreevatsan S, Barathur R. "Cetylated fatty acids improve knee function in patients with osteoarthritis." J Rheumatol. 2002 Aug;29(8):1708-12.

Hunter KW Jr, Gault RA, Stehouwer JS, Tam-Chang SW. "Synthesis of cetyl myristoleate and evaluation of its therapeutic efficacy in a murine model of collagen-induced arthritis." Pharmacol Res. 2003 Jan;47(1):43-7.

Kraemer WJ, Ratamess NA, Anderson JM, Maresh CM, Tiberio DP, Joyce ME, Messinger BN, French DN, Rubin MR, Gómez AL, Volek JS, Hesslink R Jr. "Effect of a cetylated fatty acid topical cream on functional mobility and quality of life of patients with osteoarthritis." J Rheumatol. 2004 Apr;31(4):767-74.

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