Does Evening Primrose Oil Cause Weight Gain? An Evidence-Based Review


Evening primrose oil (EPO) is a popular supplement known for its potential health benefits such as reducing inflammation, relieving premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and menopause symptoms. However, some people wonder if EPO could cause weight gain. In this article, we will review the existing scientific literature and anecdotal evidence to see if there is any credible link between EPO and weight gain.

A review of the scientific literature on evening primrose oil and weight gain

There have been a few studies examining the possible link between EPO and weight gain. However, the findings have been inconsistent. Some studies suggest that EPO supplementation may lead to weight gain, while others refute the claim.

A small randomized controlled trial conducted in 2010 on 58 obese adults found that consuming EPO supplements for 12 weeks resulted in significant weight gain and increase in body mass index (BMI). However, the weight gain was not directly attributed to EPO, as participants were advised to follow a high-carbohydrate diet during the study.

On the other hand, in a 2005 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found no significant effect of EPO on body weight, composition, or metabolic rate in 20 individuals who consumed EPO supplements over six months.

Personal experiences of individuals who have taken evening primrose oil

While there is limited scientific research on the relationship between EPO and weight gain, several individuals have reported weight changes associated with EPO consumption.

Some individuals report weight loss after taking EPO supplements, while others claim to have gained weight. However, these are self-reported experiences and cannot be used as conclusive evidence. Additionally, other factors, such as lifestyle changes or pre-existing medical conditions, could have contributed to the weight changes experienced by these individuals.

The potential mechanisms through which evening primrose oil could impact weight

While the link between EPO and weight gain remains unclear, there are a few potential mechanisms through which EPO may impact weight.

EPO is a rich source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is an omega-6 fatty acid. GLA has anti-inflammatory properties and can help regulate hormones that impact metabolism, such as insulin. Additionally, EPO may reduce inflammation in the body, which is associated with obesity and weight gain.

A comparison of the calorie content of evening primrose oil to other commonly used oils
A comparison of the calorie content of evening primrose oil to other commonly used oils

A comparison of the calorie content of evening primrose oil to other commonly used oils

When it comes to calories, EPO is comparable to other oils used commonly for cooking or supplement purposes. One tablespoon of EPO contains approximately 120 calories, which is similar to other plant-based oils such as olive, coconut, or avocado oil.

However, EPO is often not used for cooking purposes, but as a supplement, which means the calorie content will not contribute to overall caloric intake in the same way as cooking oils will.

Overview of conditions for which evening primrose oil is often used

EPO is frequently used as a natural remedy for conditions such as PMS and menopause symptoms. However, the relationship between these conditions and weight gain is complex and not fully understood.

During menopause, weight gain is a common occurrence, attributed, in part, to hormonal changes. EPO may help alleviate some symptoms, but the impact on weight remains unknown. Similarly, PMS can lead to water retention and bloating, which can impact weight. EPO may reduce the severity of these symptoms, but its impact on weight remains unclear.

Recommendations and cautions for taking evening primrose oil

If you are considering taking EPO, it is essential to speak to your doctor or a qualified healthcare professional.

EPO is generally considered safe for most adults when consumed in appropriate doses. However, like any supplement, it may cause side effects such as stomach upset, headache, or nausea. Additionally, individuals who are allergic to plants like ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and daisies may also have an allergic reaction to EPO.

While EPO may have potential health benefits, its impact on weight gain remains a subject of debate.


The relationship between EPO and weight gain remains unclear, with limited scientific evidence to support or refute the claim. While EPO may have potential health benefits, it is essential to speak to a healthcare professional before taking any supplements or making significant lifestyle changes.

Based on the lack of conclusive evidence, individuals should not use EPO for weight management purposes. However, if you are considering using EPO as a natural remedy for conditions such as PMS or menopause symptoms, consult with your doctor or a qualified healthcare professional first.

Webben Editor

Hello! I'm Webben, your guide to intriguing insights about our diverse world. I strive to share knowledge, ignite curiosity, and promote understanding across various fields. Join me on this enlightening journey as we explore and grow together.

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