The Health Benefits of Cetyl Myristoleate

person experiencing Joint pain, holding their knee

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Cetyl myristoleate is a fatty acid found naturally in certain animals, including mice, cows, beavers, and whales. It is sold in dietary supplement form and is also available as a skin cream. Cetyl myristoleate is touted as a natural treatment for a number of health conditions, primarily osteoarthritis. However, little is known about cetyl myristoleate's use as a supplement.

Also Known As

Cetyl myristoleate is known by several names, including:

  • CMO
  • Cis-9-cetylmyristoleate
  • Cetylated fatty acids

Health Benefits

Cetyl myristoleate was initially isolated from National Institutes of Health mice after it was found that this substance protected these animals from developing experimentally induced arthritis. Cetyl myristoleate appeared on the market as a supplement in 1991 and continues to be used by consumers as a treatment for bursitis, gout, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and sports-related injuries.

There is a lack of research on the health benefits and safety of cetyl myristoleate, Most of the available research has explored whether it may aid in the treatment of osteoarthritis.


Proponents claim that cetyl myristoleate can help with osteoarthritis, a condition marked by wear and tear of the cartilage surrounding your joints. It is said to relieve joint pain and reduce further joint damage, possibly by reducing inflammation. It is typically taken in supplement form or applied directly to the skin (typically in the form of a cream).

In a 2004 study published in the Journal of Rheumatology, 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 and 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.

A small 2017 study with 28 subjects published in the journal Medicine showed similar findings—that CMO is effective in reducing pain and improving mobility in patients with mild osteoarthritis of the knee.

While these studies may seem promising, they were small, and little is known about the effects of long-term use of cetyl myristoleate.

Related Conditions

Some people use cetyl myristoleate for other types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, and autoimmune conditions such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), psoriasis, and multiple sclerosis.

In addition, some use it for the following conditions:

  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
  • Back pain
  • Emphysema
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Reiter's syndrome
  • Behcet's syndrome
  • Sjogren's syndrome
  • Psoriasis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Emphysema
  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
  • Silicone breast disease
  • Leukemia and other cancers

There is not enough scientific evidence to support the use of cetyl myristoleate for the management of these conditions.

Possible Side Effects

Due to a lack of research, little is known about the safety of long-term or regular use of cetyl myristoleate supplements, or whether it may interact with medications.

Not enough is known about cetyl myristoleate to know if it is safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Experts advise that women stay on the safe side and avoid use of this supplement during these stages.

Dosage and Preparation

Cetyl myristoleate is sold in in capsule or tablet form. You can also buy it as a topical cream.

There is not enough scientific evidence to provide a recommended dose of cetyl myristoleate. Different doses have been studied in research.

For example, in research investigating the supplement's use in the treatment of osteoarthritis, a dose of 1,050 mg of a specific blend of CMO plus 150 mg of soy lecithin and 225 mg of fish oil was taken six times daily.

In studies examining topical creams, a specific blend of cetylated fatty acids applied twice daily to the affected joint was used. Researchers in one study suggested that an effective concentration was 62.4%.

What to Look For

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

When looking for this supplement, you may find cetyl myristoleate that is combined with other ingredients, such as glucosamine. It is important to read the label before you buy.

Keep in mind, however, that supplements are largely unregulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While it is it illegal to market a dietary supplement as a treatment or cure for a disease or to reduce symptoms of a disease, the FDA does not test products for safety or effectiveness. In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the amount specified on the label. There have also been published reports of supplements containing ingredients not disclosed on the label.

When choosing a supplement, try to buy from a familiar seller, such as your local pharmacy. Ask questions if you are not sure which product to choose. In addition, look for products that have been certified by ConsumerLabs, the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, or NSF International. These organizations don't guarantee that a product is safe or effective, but they do ensure a product has been tested for quality and contains what is on the label.

Common Questions

What are other natural remedies for arthritis?

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 or soybean unsaponifiables may aid in arthritis management.

Does exercise improve symptoms of arthritis?

Practicing yoga or taking up tai chi may help with symptoms. Undergoing acupuncture or getting a massage may also help curb arthritis pain and improve functioning.

A Word From Verywell

Due to the limited research about the effectiveness and safety of cetyl myristoleate, it's too soon to recommend it as a treatment for any condition. It should be noted that self-treating a condition with cetyl myristoleate and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you're considering using it, make sure to consult your primary care provider first.

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