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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

All about GLA - Gamma Linoleic Acid

Beneficial Effects of GLA:

Omega-6 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids (EFAs), which means that they are essential to health. EFA cannot be made in the body and therefore must be obtained from the foods we eat or by supplementation. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is an essential fatty acid in the omega-6 family that is found mostly in oil rich plants.

EFAs are needed for::

-normal brain function growth and development bone health
-stimulation of skin and hair growth
-regulation of metabolism maintenance of reproductive processes

Deficiencies in EFAs can lead to:

reduced growth a scaly rash called dermatitis infertility lack of ability to fight infection and heal wounds

Keeping A Healthy Balance

Lack of omega-6 fatty acids is rare. Diets, however, tend to have too much omega-6 in relation to omega-3 fatty acids. The ratio of omega-3(EPA) to omega-6 is critical.

Omega-6 EFAs serve as building blocks for prostaglandins, a group of hormone-like substances that regulate many crucial functions of the body. If this imbalance continues over a long period of time, it contributes to diseases such as:

-heart disease cancer asthma arthritis depression

For optimum health and disease prevention, the balance should consist of 1:4 more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids. The average diet usually contains 11 to 30 times more omega-6 than omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-6 fatty acids are the primary oil found in inexpensive oil products and is added to most processed foods. To help restore a healthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 EFAs, we should try to avoid omega-6 oils in our diet and supplement with GLA. A diet high in sugar and processed fats interferes with the bodies conversion of GLA to prostaglandin.

The popularity of the Mediterranean diet is largely due to its healthier balance of omega-6 to omega-3 EFAs. The Mediterranean diet includes: whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables, fish, olive oil, garlic little meat, which is high in omega-6 fatty acids

There are several different types of: omega-6 fatty acids. Most omega-6 fatty acids are consumed in the diet from vegetable oils as linoleic acid (LA; be careful not to confuse this with alpha-linolenic acid [ALA] which is an omega-3 fatty acid).

Linoleic acid is converted to gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) in the body and then further broken down to arachidonic acid (AA). AA can also be consumed directly from meat.

Excess amounts of LA and AA are unhealthy because they promote inflammation leading to the diseases described above. However, GLA may actually reduce inflammation. Much of the GLA taken as a supplement is not converted to AA, but rather to a substance called dihomogamma-linolenic acid (DGLA).DGLA competes with AA and prevents the: negative inflammatory effects that AA would otherwise cause in the body. In addition, DGLA becomes part of prostaglandins that reduce inflammation.

Having adequate amounts of certain nutrients in the body (including magnesium, zinc, and vitamins C, B3, and B6) helps promote the conversion of GLA to DGLA rather than AA. So we see once again that over all nutrition is important.

Functions of Prostaglandins:

-Production of steroids
-Hormone synthesis
-Inflammation, pain and swelling
-Regulation of blood pressure
-Helps regulate the body's fluid balance by assisting kidney function
-Regulates blood clotting and platelet aggregation
-Allergic response to allergens
-Nerve transmission

Sources of GLA

-Evening primrose
-Black current
-Borage oil

Research shows that up to 2,800 mg of GLA per day is well tolerated. Doses of GLA greater than 3,000 mg per day should be avoided because, at that point, production of AA (rather than DGLA) may increase.

Who Should Not Supplement With GLA

GLA should not be used during pregnancy because they may be harmful to the fetus and induce early labor.

Omega-6 supplements should not be taken if you have a seizure disorder. GLA supplements have been shown to increase seizures.

Possible Drug Interactions:

If you are taking any of the following drugs, you should check with your doctor before taking a GLA supplement.


GLA may increase the effectiveness of ceftazidime against bacterial infections.

Chemotherapy for cancer:

GLA may make some chemotherapy, such as doxorubicin, cisplatin, carboplatin, idarubicin, mitoxantrone, tamoxifen, vincristine, and vinblastine, more effective.


GLA supplementation during therapy with cyclosporine, a drug used to suppress the immune system, may increase the effectiveness of this drug and may protect against kidney damage which is a known side effect.

Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs):

The use of NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, may damped the effects of GLA supplement. Phenothiazines for schizophrenia: Individuals taking any of the phenothiazines (such as chlorpromazine, fluphenazine, perphenazine, promazine, and thioridazine) should avoid taking GLA because it may cause seizures.

Who Will Benefit From GLA Supplementation?

Anyone diagnosed with:


Diabetics cannot convert GLA from linoleic acid. GLA supplementation improves nerve function and may prevent diabetic nerve disease*. The recommended daily dose for diabetes it is 480 mg per day of GLA.

Some preliminary information indicates that GLA, from borage oil, or black currant seed oil, may diminish joint pain, swelling, and morning stiffness. GLA may also allow for reduction in the amount of pain medication used by those with rheumatoid arthritis. The studies to date, however, have been small in size. Additional research would be helpful, including testing a proposed theory that using GLA and EPA (an omega-3 fatty acid from fish and fish oil) together would be helpful for rheumatoid arthritis. The recommended dosage for rheumatoid arthritis is 1,400 mg per day of GLA.

Raynaud's Disease

Recent research suggests that supplementation with omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs) may be useful because they decrease platelet aggregation, which can limit blood flow. Some natural practitioners recommend massaging the oil into affected fingers and toes to improve blood flow, as well.

Eczema* Fibrocystic breast disease* Osteoporosis*.

A deficiency in essential fatty acids (including GLA and EPA, an omega-3 fatty acid) can lead to severe bone loss and osteoporosis. Studies have shown that supplements of GLA and EPA together help maintain or increase bone mass. Essential fatty acids may also enhance calcium absorption, increase calcium deposits in bones, diminish calcium loss in urine, improve bone strength, and enhance bone growth, all of which may contribute to improved bone mass and, therefore, strength.


Women with PMS have been shown to have impaired conversion of linoleic acid to GLA. Some women find relief of their PMS symptoms when using GLA supplements. The symptoms that seem to be helped the most are breast tenderness and feelings of depression as well as irritability and swelling and bloating from fluid retention.

Breast tenderness from causes other than PMS may also improve with use of GLA. Allergies. People who are prone to allergies may require more EFAs and often have difficulty converting LA to GLA.

In fact, women: and infants who are prone to allergies appear to have lower levels of GLA in breast milk and blood.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Research to date has suggested an improvement in symptoms and behaviors related to ADHD from omega-3 fatty acids. Results of studies supplying omega-6 fatty acids in the form of GLA to children with ADHD, however, have been mixed and, therefore, not conclusive. More research on GLA for ADHD is needed before conclusions can be drawn. In the meantime, ensuring a healthier balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids in the diet seems worthwhile for those with this behavioral condition.


GLA may help lessen cravings for alcohol and prevent liver damage.


Results of studies looking at the relationship of omega-6 fatty acids to cancer have been mixed. While LA and AA are cancer promoting in studies of colon, breast, and other cancers, GLA has shown some benefit for breast cancer in certain studies. The information is not conclusive and is somewhat controversial. The safest bet is to eat a diet with the proper balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, starting from a young age, to try to prevent the development of cancer.

High Blood Pressure and Heart Disease.

Studies suggest that GLA, either alone or in combination with two important omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA both found in fish and fish oil, may lower the blood pressure of hypertensive rats. Together with EPA and DHA, the GLA helped to prevent the development of heart disease in these animals as well. It is unclear whether these benefits would occur in people.


Very preliminary evidence from test tube and animal studies suggest that GLA from EPO may have anti-ulcer properties. It is premature to know how this might apply to people with stomach or intestinal ulcers or gastritis (inflammation of the stomach).

A highly potent natural concentration of GLA in an easily absorbed form!

Source - pjstory.com

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