Beluga Whale Oil: Nutritional Facts and Health Benefits

Beluga whale oil is extracted from the blubber (thick layer of tissue containing fat) and head cavities of the whale, which is high in calories, making it a valuable energy source in the Arctic environment.

The Beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) is an Arctic mammal from the Monodontidae family. It is also known as the white whale, sea canary, and melonhead.

beluga whale
Beluga whale

The Beluga is widely distributed throughout the northern water in countries like Russia, Alaska, Canada, and West Greenland. (1) 

Beluga whale oil is extracted from the blubber (thick layer of tissue containing fat) and head cavities of the whale, which is high in calories, making it a valuable energy source in the Arctic environment.

This oil is also known as train oil or muktuk. The quantity of blubber in Beluga whales indicates the nutritional status, which provides high-quality oil benefiting our health. (2)

The oil is high in saturated and unsaturated fatty acids and vitamins like A, D, and E. 

A Beluga whale’s blubber maintains the whale’s body temperature in the cold Arctic water. It can be up to 4 inches thick, accounting for 40-50 % of body weight. (3) The oil from the blubber of the Beluga whale tastes nutty. Beluga appeared to feed dominantly on Artic cod near shore and offshore regions. (4)

Various countries worldwide follow the whale meat consumption tradition. The meat is served fresh or smoked. The taste of beluga whales’ meat and oil resembles cod liver oil. (5)

The extracted oil from the Beluga whale is mainly used in industrial areas for lubricating machines and leather.

Besides that, the oil is used in salad dressing and added to soups to enhance the food taste. 

Nutritional Facts

Beluga whale oil is packed with fatty acids and nutritional components. It contains a good amount of polyunsaturated (PUFAs) and monounsaturated (MUFAs) fats, which are healthy for our heart health. The number of saturated fats in the oil is lower, which is beneficial, as saturated fats are considered unhealthy fatty acids. 

LipidsAmount per 100 grams
Saturated fatty acids14.5 g
Monounsaturated fatty acids54.2 g
Polyunsaturated fatty acids10.8 g

The oil is high in calories (900 kcal/100 g). It contains a good quantity of vitamins like vitamin A (2310 IU/100 g), vitamin E (8.27 mg/100 g), vitamin D (228 IU/100 g), and vitamin K (2 mcg/100 g). (6)

PUFAs like Eicosapentaenoic acid (2.8 g/100 g) and Docosahexaenoic acid (3.94 g/100 g) make beluga whale oil important medicinally. These PUFAs, EPA and DHA, benefit our heart health and boost the body’s functioning. (6)

Note: g-gram, mg-milligram, mcg-microgram, IU-international units

Health Benefits

The oil from the blubber of Beluga whales contains a high quantity of fatty acids. Different levels of PUFAs in cell membranes are required to possess actions and maintain tissue functioning and responsiveness to signaling. (7) These fatty acids not only benefit human health but also contribute to preventing various diseases. This post further discussed the health benefits of Beluga whale oil.

  1. Can benefit heart health: Beluga whale oil is rich in PUFAs (omega-3 and omega-6) responsible for affecting heart health. Proper consumption of PUFAs regulates blood flow in our heart and balances the cholesterol level. Balance in cholesterol promotes decreased triglycerides and protects the heart from stroke and heart attack. (7)
  1. Can benefit eye health: Beluga whale oil contains a good amount of vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency can cause Hypovitaminosis A. This disease can lead to dryness of the eyes and further blindness. (8) This oil’s presence of EPA and DHA can reduce age-related macular degeneration. 
  1. Can benefit skin health: Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in beluga whale oil possess antioxidant properties. These fatty acids prevent and protect the skin cells from oxidative stress, which can cause diseases like psoriasis and dermatitis. They can also protect the skin from sunburn, balance uneven skin tone, and brighten it. (9)
  1. Can benefit brain health: Omega-3 fatty acids in beluga whale oil promotes blood flow in the brain and boost functioning. It also protects the brain from mental disorders and Alzheimer’s disease. The extracted oil also prevents attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. (10)  
  1. Can reduce inflammation: Beluga whale oil, high in fatty acids, prevents inflammation in the human body. The nutritional components in this oil possess antioxidant properties and help to protect cells from oxidative stress. This oil helps in reducing inflammation which can cause chronic diseases like diabetes, heart diseases, and brain diseases. This oil can also prevent the origin of tumorous cells in the skin, brain, and breast. (11)

Despite serving the human body with several health benefits, beluga whale oil can still show some health risks. The oil can contain mercury, cadmium, and lead, whose high consumption can lead to death. (12)

For more: Fish oil- facts and health benefits

  1. Lowry, Lloyd & Reeves, Randy & Laidre, Kristin. (2017). Delphinapterus leucas, Beluga Whale. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T6335A50352346.en.
  2. Cornick LA, Quakenbush LT, Norman SA, Pasi C, Maslyk P, Burek KA, et al. Seasonal and developmental differences in blubber stores of beluga whales in Bristol Bay, Alaska using high-resolution ultrasound. Journal of Mammalogy. 2016;97(4):1238–48.  
  3. Beluga Whale – Ammpa [Internet]. [cited 2023Feb23]. Available from:
  4. Loseto, Lisa & Stern, Gary & Connelly, T.L. & Deibel, D. & Gemmill, B. & Prokopowicz, A. & Fortier, Louis & Ferguson, Steven. (2009). Summer diet of beluga whale inferred by fatty acid analysis of eastern Beaufort Sea food web. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 374. 12-18. 10.1016/j.jembe.2009.03.015. 
  5. Devlin JJ. ‘for me whale meat is my childhood, my memories’ [Internet]. BBC News. BBC; 2020 [cited 2023Feb24]. Available from:
  6. Fooddata Central Search Results [Internet]. FoodData Central. [cited 2023Feb24]. Available from:
  7. Rodriguez D, Lavie CJ, Elagizi A, Milani RV. Update on omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on Cardiovascular Health. Nutrients. 2022;14(23):5146.  
  8. Faustino, Jacqueline & Ribeiro-Silva, Alfredo & Dalto, Rodrigo & Souza, Marcelo & Furtado, Joao & Rocha, Gutemberg & Alves, Monica & Rocha, Eduardo. (2016). Vitamin A and the eye: An old tale for modern times. Arquivos Brasileiros de Oftalmologia. 79. 10.5935/0004-2749.20160018. 
  9. Hokynková A, Nováková M, Babula P, Sedláčková M, Paulová H, Hlaváčová M, et al. Fatty acid supplementation affects skin wound healing in a rat model. Nutrients. 2022;14(11):2245.  
  10. Robertson R. 12 important benefits of fish oil, based on science [Internet]. Healthline. Healthline Media; 2022 [cited 2023Feb24]. Available from:
  11. Calder PC. Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes. Nutrients. 2010;2(3):355–74. 
  12. Beland, Pierre & Michaud, Robert & DeGuise, Sylvain & Girard, Christiane & Lagacé, André & Martineau, Daniel & Muir, Derek & Norstorm, R. & Pelletier, Emilien & Ray, Sankar. (1993). Toxic Compounds and Health and Reproductive Effects in St. Lawrence Beluga Whales. Journal of Great Lakes Research – J GREAT LAKES RES. 19. 766-775. 10.1016/S0380-1330(93)71264-2.   

Diksha Koirala

Diksha Koirala is a recent graduate student in Food Technology. During her study, she developed an interest in the science behind the food used in industries for further product development. Through her writing, she hopes to educate others to create products that not only taste good but also promote a healthy lifestyle.

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