Cetyl myristoleate is the common name for a fatty acid called cis-9-cetylmyristoleate, abbreviated as “CMO.” CMO is found in certain animals, including mice, beavers, cows, and whales. When a researcher in 1972 was testing anti-inflammatory drugs on lab animals induced with arthritis, he found that this naturally occurring fat protected these animals against arthritis. Bu accident, he had discovered a natural substance that remedies inflammatory conditions. Scientists have been able to extract this fatty acid, and experimentation shows it reduces inflammation and treats arthritis and other inflammatory diseases in humans when taken as a supplement or used in skin cream .
CMO works to reduce inflammation and pain in three main ways. It acts as a lubricant for joints, muscles and other tissues, increasing their range of motion. It also modulates the immune system by stimulating it or downregulating it to return its functioning to homeostasis. This is shown to help with autoimmune diseases, like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis (MS). Finally, CMO reduces inflammation by regulating the hormones that trigger the body’s inflammatory response. .
1. Pain Relief
One use for CMO is as a natural pain reliever, especially in the case of inflammatory conditions, whether internal or on the skin. People with joint pain experience reduced stiffness, better range of motion, less swelling and improved dexterity when supplementing with CMO. Patients with inflammatory conditions have even been able to discontinue their pain medication by supplementing with CMO and return to doing physical activities they couldn’t do before. Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with an inflammatory disease, you can use CMO to treat back pain, headaches and other painful conditions .
Osteoarthritis is a condition characterized by the breaking down of joint cartilage and bone, causing stiffness and pain. By lubricating the joints and lowering inflammation, CMO is shown to make a significant positive impact on cases of osteoarthritis .
In a study on 40 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, a topical cream containing CMO was found to improve their range of motion, balance, ability to climb stairs and ease of getting up from sitting, after just 30 days. Another study confirmed that these same effects occur in people with knee osteoarthritis when CMO is taken orally. When 64 patients were given either CMO or a placebo orally, the CMO group had greater knee functioning after 68 days .
3. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means the immune system mistakenly attacks the body–in this case, the joints. It causes chronic joint pain and inflammation, which can result in deformity and immobility. By acting as a joint lubricant and anti-inflammatory agent, and by modulating the immune system, CMO helps treat rheumatoid arthritis.
In a study involving 431 participants, researchers administered CMO to arthritis patients who weren’t responding to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)–the standard treatment for arthritis pain. CMO taken at 540 mg a day orally for 30 days was shown to improve symptoms in 64 percent of the patients .
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease involving global musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue. Thanks to its beneficial effects on the musculoskeletal system, CMO can help treat this condition. In a study on 13 fibromyalgia patients, oral CMO supplementation was found to reduce pain, fatigue and sleep disturbance, causing researchers to conclude CMO has an overall helpful effect in treating fibromyalgia .
Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own organs, including the heart, lungs, brain, and kidneys. It also attacks the joints, which results in symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, there’s a genetic connection between lupus and rheumatoid arthritis because mutations of the gene STAT4 occur in both cases. In fact, people with lupus have a 60 percent higher chance of having rheumatoid arthritis. Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are treated with similar drugs, including anti-inflammatory medications, in order to reduce painful swelling. Although research on the effects of CMO on lupus is lacking, evidence proving its beneficial effects on rheumatoid arthritis suggest it could be helpful in treating lupus .
6. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also called benign prostatic hypertrophy, is the medical term for prostate enlargement. It’s caused by an overgrowth of glandular tissue, which usually obstructs the passing of urine through the urethra. Research points to chronic inflammation as a major culprit behind this condition, which typically affects men over 50. Prostatic inflammation can be caused by bacteria that triggers the immune system to release proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines. By downregulating the inflammatory response and reducing inflammation, CMO may be helpful for reducing prostate enlargement. However, more research is needed to confirm its effects on BPH .
Doses and Safety
CMO doesn’t need to be taken in high doses or for long periods, as it lasts a long time in the body. Most people see adequate results in 2 to 8 weeks, and only need smaller, less frequent doses after that.
The effects of CMO are improved with glucosamine sulfate supplementation. This is a substance stimulates the production of cartilage constituents and is often used to help treat arthritis. Antioxidants like glutathione and vitamins A, C, and E also help by reducing the degradation of cartilage. Omega-3 fatty acids also help improve inflammatory conditions as well as autoimmune diseases and can be taken along with CMO to enhance its effects.
Human studies involving thousands of people in total have shown that CMO produces no serious side effects. However, some people have reported stomach discomfort and unpleasant belching. It also has no known interactions with medications .