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Top 10 Side Effects Of Mustard Oil


The Indian cuisine, especially in the eastern part of the country, is incomplete without mustard oil. It is known for the taste it adds to the dishes. But are you aware of the side effects of mustard oil? While you may consume it regularly, it is important to follow certain precautions. Read on to learn about the 10 common negative effects associated with the consumption of mustard oil.

Mustard Oil Side Effects

The mouth-watering fish curry cooked in mustard oil can lead to some side effects too! Check out the major side effects of mustard oil usage:

1. Contains Erucic Acid

Several researches have proved that mustard oil contains a huge amount (approximately between 42% and 47%) of erucic acid (1). It is a bizarre fatty acid compound (monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid), which is known to be highly toxic in nature. Due to the presence of such copious amounts of erucic acid in mustard oil, it can pose serious health risks to us. Intake of a high dosage of mustard oil is associated with cardiovascular issues, respiratory issues, diarrhea, anemia, cancer, coma, and even death in the most severe cases (2).

2. Influences Heart Health

The high level of the erucic acid content of mustard oil can take a toll on the health of our heart and damage it significantly. It is mostly known for causing a certain medical condition known as ‘myocardial lipidosis’ or ‘fatty degeneration of heart’ in which fibrotic lesions develop in myocardial fibers of heart muscles due to the buildup of triglycerides or fat droplets in them (3). It damages the cardiac muscles badly and sometimes even leads to heart failure.

3. May Increase Lung Cancer Risk

Apart from increasing cardiovascular risks, erucic acid in mustard oil distresses our lungs too. At the initial stage, it can simply affect the upper part of our respiratory system (especially the respiratory tract), causing troubled breathing and so on. But the long-term intake of mustard oil can make us prone to lung cancer, which is absolutely fatal. However, limited studies are available to prove this claim.

4. Leads To Dropsy

In the year 1998, the use of mustard oil for cooking was banned by the Delhi Government in order to put a check on the rapidly increasing cases of dropsy (4). It is basically the most severe form of edema in which the soft tissues in the human body swell up to a great extent due to unusual fluid accumulation.

5. Causes Irritation

Mustard oil is known to contain another harmful chemical compound called allyl isothiocyanate (5). It is an extremely strong and powerful irritant that, when taken orally, can result in the inflammation of the linings of the lungs, gastrointestinal tract, intestines, etc. (6), (7). The irritating property of mustard oil may also cause problems like abnormal secretion of tears, increased sensitivity, and neuroexcitation.

6. May Result In Skin Damage

Long-term topical application of mustard oil can affect the skin in a number of ways. Studies have shown that it interrupts the skin barrier function and increases water loss through the epidermis, altering the structure of epidermal keratinocytes considerably. It can even cause minor to major skin blisters. That is why modern medical science suggests avoiding the use of mustard oil for massaging infants and kids. However, limited studies are available in this regard.

7. Gives External Eruptions

External application of mustard oil can lead to certain eruptions on the skin too. These are similar to the rashes ‘pityriasis rosea’ and are benign in nature (8). However, if ignored, these eruptions can turn out to be the reason for substantial discomfort.

8.Can Lead To Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions are also common among the side effects of mustard oil (9). These are mainly immunoglobulin E or IgE-mediated allergies, such as redness, itchiness, dry and cracked skin, etc., and are not that severe.

9. Causes Rhinitis

Excessive consumption of mustard oil can cause rhinitis in which the mucous membrane tends to get inflamed (10). It is characterized by coughing, sneezing, stuffy nose, watery nose, and post-nasal drip. Hence it is better to reduce its consumption to get rid of this one of the strange mustard oil side effects.

10. Affects Pregnancy

Pregnant women should avoid consumption of mustard oil as it contains a few chemical compounds that are harmful to them as well as the growing fetus. As per the researchers, these chemicals can result in miscarriage.

Giving up something that is not just a part of one’s daily food, but is also a traditional and cultural symbol is not easy. Don’t worry, you don’t need to chuck out all that mustard oil either. But you can limit its consumption to prevent these side effects. Health matters, after all!

Do you know any other mustard oil side effects? Let us know by commenting below if you know any other mustard oil cooking side effects.

The side effects of mustard oil are less known. However, these side effects are majorly related to excessive consumption. Erucic acid in mustard oil can cause anemia, diarrhea, and many other health issues. Mustard oil also impacts heart health negatively, increases lung cancer risk, may lead to dropsy, cause irritation, and may trigger skin damage. Applying mustard oil to the skin may trigger eruptions and allergic reactions. Mustard oil also causes rhinitis and may also negatively affect pregnancy. Hence consuming it in moderation helps minimize the risk of these side effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can we use mustard oil daily?

Yes, you can use mustard oil daily.

Can I apply mustard oil on hair?

Yes, you can apply mustard oil on your hair and massage your scalp with it as well.

Is mustard oil good for kidneys?

Yes, the ratio of monosaturated and polysaturated fatty acids in mustard oil can help reduce kidney complications (11).

Does mustard oil make your skin dark?

No. Though it is falsely assumed that using mustard oil directly on the face can darken the skin, that is not true.

Is mustard oil bad for cholesterol?

No. According to a study, mustard oil is an excellent source of both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. These acids reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions by raising HDL (good cholesterol) levels and lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) levels (12).



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  1. Erucic Acid-Rich Yellow Mustard Oil Improves Insulin Resistance in KK-Ay Mice
  2. Various concentrations of erucic acid in mustard oil and mustard
  3. Various concentrations of erucic acid in mustard oil and mustard
  4. Epidemic dropsy–a clinical study of the Delhi outbreak
  5. Allyl isothiocyanate
  6. Isothiocyanates and Glucosinolates from Sisymbrium officinale (L.) Scop. (“the Singers’ Plant”): Isolation and in Vitro Assays on the Somatosensory and Pain Receptor TRPA1 Channel
  7. Allyl Isothiocyanate Ameliorates Dextran Sodium Sulfate-Induced Colitis in Mouse by Enhancing Tight Junction and Mucin Expression
  8. Pityriasis rosea-like eruptions due to mustard oil application
  9. Dangerous anaphylactic reaction to mustard
  10. Actual therapeutic management of allergic and hyperreactive nasal disorders
  12. Ultrasonic Studies on Mustard Oil: A Critical Review

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