Gamma-oryzanol (also called esters of ferulic acid) is basically a grain-like substance isolated from rice bran oil that encourages growth. Since 1962, people in Japan have been employing gamma-oryzanol in the form of a medication. In the initial stages, it was employed for treating mild cases of nervousness and later, in 1970, it was approved for treating menopausal symptoms. In 1986, gamma-oryzanol was also approved for treating high levels of cholesterol as well as triglyceride levels. Every year, the Japanese process just about 150,000 tons of rice bran to produce 7,500 tons of gamma-oryzanol.

Nature contains a wide distribution of ferulic acid amalgams while ferulic acid esters are found in rice, wheat, oats, barley, asparagus, tomatoes, peas, berries, olives, vegetables, fruits (especially citrus fruits) and several other foods. In effect, ferulic acid esters are the bran part of grains, which denotes whole-grain products enclose considerably elevated levels of it, compared to the processed grains, such as white rice as well as white wheat. In effect, the intensity of ferulic acid is ten-folds more in whole-wheat flour compared to the white flour (roughly 500 mg per gram in whole-grain flour and 50 mg per gram in white flour).

Gamma-oryzanol and ferulic acid are vital antioxidants inside the plant cells. Both materials have brought to bear considerable antioxidant consequences in research models. Owing to the strong antioxidant outcomes of gamma-oryzanol, it may be a probable support in averting the detrimental impacts of exposure to radiation and/ or chemotherapy - the anti-cancer consequences have been observed in several animal studies.

The compound gamma-oryzanol seems to work on the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. Several bodybuilders are of the view that using gamma-oryzanol improves the secretion of growth hormone. Additional hormones secreted by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus that seem to be slowed down owing to the use of gamma-oryzanol, comprise prolactin, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and leutinizing hormone. In general, the importance of these consequences has not been determined absolutely. In fact, it is remarkable to note that gamma-oryzanol generates such consequences on these control hormones, but still does not seem to change the level of hormones they regulate. For instance, although gamma-oryzanol (taking 300 mg daily) brought down the high levels of TSH in hypothyroid patients, it did not have any impact on the levels of thyroid hormone. Together with ferulic acid, gamma-oryzanol has also demonstrated gentle anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory results in the animal studies conducted thus far.


Gamma-oryzanol is primarily employed for treating menopausal symptoms, different gastrointestinal disorders and high levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream. In addition, bodybuilders also utilize gamma-oryzanol.

It is worth mentioning that during the early 1960s, gamma-oryzanol initially demonstrated that it was effective in treating menopausal symptoms, counting hot flashes. Studies undertaken afterwards have additionally reported its efficacy in conditions related to menopause. The basic action of gamma-oryzanol is to lessen or inhibit the discharge of leutinizing hormone (LH) by the pituitary gland and, simultaneously, to stimulate the hypothalamus for added secretion of endorphin.

Many researches have suggested that to a large extent gamma-oryzanol is efficient in bringing down the cholesterol as well as triglyceride level in the bloodstream. In one particular study, the 67 subjects enduring high levels of cholesterol or triglyceride were given 300 mg of gamma-oryzanol. Within four weeks, the level of cholesterol in their bloodstream dropped by 8 per cent to just 12 per cent, while the average triglyceride level declined from a mean 222 mg per decilitre to just 190 mg for every decilitre. In addition, it was found that the participants in the study also experienced mild rise in HDL cholesterol. The cholesterol lowering action of gamma-oryzanol seems to entail a mishmash of consequences. It also improves the alteration of cholesterol into bile acids, augments the secretion of bile acid and, at the same time, slows down the assimilation of cholesterol.

Clinical experiments undertaken by Japanese researchers show that gamma-oryzanol is helpful in treating a wide assortment of gastrointestinal complains, counting gastritis, peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as well as imprecise gastrointestinal disorders. More than 23 clinical examinations have been undertaken with gamma-oryzanol for treating these conditions. It seems that the method of action of gamma-oryzanol is to normalize the nervous system's regulation of digestive secretions.

Some small and inadequately controlled researches have detected that gamma-oryzanol augments the lean body mass, enhances strength, lowers the body fat, and increases recuperation from exercises as well as tenderness following workouts. In fact, such studies have encouraged researchers to undertake experiments under superior controls to corroborate these consequences of using gamma-oryzanol. It is worth mentioning that two double-blind and properly controlled researches have espoused the findings from the earlier studies.

In the original double-blind research, weight lifters were given 30 mg of ferulic acid esters or a placebo every day continuously for eight weeks. The body weight of the weight lifter who took ferulic acid esters augmented considerably, but this was not the case in the subjects who took placebo. Potency as calculated by a single repetition of a chest press, shoulder press and leg press improved in the group of weight lifters than the control group.

In the second double-blind experiment, the levels of stress hormone in the bloodstream were gauged prior to and following strenuous workouts in a six excellently trained male endurance sprinters when they took ferulic acid esters (in dosage of 50 mg every day) or a placebo. The subjects who took ferulic acid showed considerable improvement in their beta endorphin levels that suggest that gamma-oryzanol works on the hypothalamus. This outcome is endorsed by researches conducted on animals, which demonstrated an impact on the hypothalamus.

It may be noted that gamma-oryzanol is a very harmless natural substance for use by humans. During experiments or clinical trials with this natural substance no adverse side effects were reported. Even studies undertaken on animals have shown that gamma-oryzanol is an extremely safe substance.

In fact, rice bran oil is used extensively for cooking, particularly in Asia. It possesses a nutty essence and an elevated smoke point, making rice bran oil appropriate for deep frying as well as cooking at very high temperatures. In addition, extracts from rice bran are employed by the cosmetic industry.

Often, the data of clinical trials is of inferior methodology, making it troublesome to endorse recommended clinical relevance. Nevertheless, rice bran oil as well as its elements may possibly have applications in elevated cholesterol levels in the bloodstream, dermatology and various types of cancer.

Usual dosage

In clinical studies involving patients having elevated cholesterol levels in their bloodstream, a maximum of 800 mg of rice bran oil has been used every day. On the other hand, distilled gamma-oryzanol has been used in dosage of 500 mg every day.

Rice bran oil is hauled out from the bran part of rice, the seeds or kernels of the rice plant. Rice bran oil encloses considerable quantities of gamma-oryzanol, a combination of antioxidant amalgams. The external chaff of the rice seed is removed during the milling process to yield brown rice. Additional milling also gets rid of the bran part (including the remaining husk as well as the germ parts), producing white rice.

It may be mentioned that the rice plant produces long and thin leaves as well as diminutive flowers that are pollinated by wind. The rice plant is indigenous to the countries in southern Asia and a number of regions in Africa, but is cultivated extensively in other parts of the world too. In the form of a cereal grain, rice is an important nutritional source for a large part of the world's populace.

Side effects and cautions

People using or intending to use rice bran oil or its extracts for therapeutic reasons ought to be aware of the potential side effects of these substances, if any. The extracts as well as rice bran oil are regarded to be extremely harmless, as just low occurrences of minor allergic reactions have been reported.

Apprehensions concerning noxiousness are mostly owing to an incident that took place in Japan in the late 1960s when the use of adulterated rice bran oil resulted in adverse effects in as many 1,800 people. Nevertheless, the findings of short-term studies on animals did not find any mutation or development of cancer owing to the use of rice bran oil. It may be noted that an augmentation in incidences of bladder cancer has been related to sodium salt of phytic acid exposure, however, not in the exposure to magnesium or potassium salts. In addition, it has been suggested that using gamma-oryzanol in high doses may result in lung cancer.

Thus far, contraindications have not been identified. Nevertheless, using products that enclose phytic acid, a chemical element found in rice seed, is not advisable for patients enduring poor functioning of the kidneys.

Before we conclude this discussion, it may be mentioned that information related to the safety as well as effectiveness of rice bran oil and its extracts among pregnant women and nursing mother is lacking.