What is Gamma-Linolenic Acid?
Gamma linolenic acid is a fatty substance. It's found in various plant seed oils such as borage oil and evening primrose oil. People use it as medicine. What is Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)? GLA is found in the seeds and oils of a range of plants including Onagraceae (evening primrose), Saxifragaceae (borage), and Rubaceae (blackcurrant). The richest source of GLA is borage (Borago officinalis). What is Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) used for? Overview. Fatty acids are the basic building blocks for all lipids.
Like omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fats are essential, which means your body cannot make them and they must come from food. Gamma-linolenic acid, or GLA, refers to the omega-6 fatty acids found in plant foods. Very few foods you normally eat contain GLA, according to NYU Langone Medical Center, but you may be able to up your intake by linolenjc hemp oil, spirulina or borage oil. Consult your doctor before supplementing your diet with these foods.
Most of your omega-6 fatty acids come from vegetable oils in the form or linoleic acid, or LA. There is concern that high intakes of omega-6 fatty acids in the form or LA and AA increase inflammation, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
However, getting your omega-6s from foods rich in GLA may reduce inflammation. Compared to other oils swine flu what is it as olive or safflower oil, hemp oil contains the highest amount of GLA.
Two to 4 percent of the unsaturated fats how to load black powder rifles hemp oil come from its GLA content. Because of the high amounts what is gamma linolenic acid unsaturated fats found in hemp oil, it should not be used as a cooking oil, but you can add it to salad or drizzle it over grains or cooked veggies for flavor.
Also known as blue-green algae, spirulina -- a source of GLA -- is eaten in other parts of the world but is usually taken as a supplement in the United States. You can mix spirulina powder or flakes into a smoothie, sprinkle it on a salad or add it to a grain dish. Gzmma sources of spirulina may contain bacteria whaat heavy metals, which can be harmful to your health. To reduce your risk, look for spirulina that has been tested for contaminants. Like spirulina, borage oil is more of a supplement than a food.
It comes from the bee plant and is also sometimes referred to as starflower oil. Borage oil contains amabiline, which is a pyrrolizidine alkaloid afid is toxic to your liver. The more borage oil you take, the greater the risk of liver damage, according to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Look for borage oil certified free of unsaturated pyrrolizidine alkaloids to reduce your risk. Nutrition Nutrition Basics Food and Health. Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and lecturing on diet and how to decorate fruits for engagement for more than 15 years. Bach, M. Corleone holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition.
A close-up of hemp seeds. Hemp Oil. Borage Oil.
What is Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)?
Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is an omega-6 fatty acid. Omega-6 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids. They are necessary for human health, but the . Sep 17, · Gamma linolenic acid is a fatty substance found in various plant seed oils such as borage oil and evening primrose oil. People use it as medicine. Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) is used for conditions that affect the skin including systemic sclerosis, psoriasis, and eczema. Nov 05, · Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is an omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid mainly found in plant seeds. Although sometimes called essential, you don’t need to get it from food since your body can make it from linoleic acid [ 1 +, 2 +].
Gamma-linolenic acid GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid. Omega-6 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids. They are necessary for human health, but the body cannot make them. You have to get them through food. Along with omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function, and normal growth and development. Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids PUFAs , they help stimulate skin and hair growth, maintain bone health, regulate metabolism, and maintain the reproductive system.
There are several different types of omega-6 fatty acids. Most omega-6 fatty acids in the diet come from vegetable oils in the form of linoleic acid LA. You can get GLA from several plant-based oils, including evening primrose oil EPO , borage oil, and black currant seed oil. Most of these oils also contain some linoleic acid. A healthy diet contains a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation while some omega-6 fatty acids promote inflammation. The typical American diet contains 14 to 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids. Many physicians blame this high rate of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids for the large number of inflammatory diseases in the American population.
Not all omega-6 fatty acids behave the same. Linoleic acid and arachidonic acid AA tend to promote inflammation. GLA, on the other hand, may actually reduce inflammation. Many experts find the science supporting the use of omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation and prevent diseases to be much stronger than that supporting GLA.
Some studies show that taking gamma linolenic acid GLA for 6 months or more may reduce symptoms of nerve pain in people with diabetic neuropathy. People who have good blood sugar control may find GLA more effective than those with poor blood sugar control. Studies are mixed as to whether EPO helps reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Preliminary evidence suggests EPO may reduce pain, swelling, and morning stiffness. But other studies have found no effect. When using GLA for arthritis symptoms, it may take 1 to 3 months to see any benefit. It is unlikely that EPO would help stop the progression of the disease. So joint damage could still occur.
Women and children who are prone to allergies appear to have lower levels of GLA in breast milk and blood. However, there is no solid scientific evidence that taking GLA helps reduce allergy symptoms. More research is needed. Before you try GLA for allergies, speak with your doctor to determine if it is safe for you.
Then track your allergy symptoms closely for any signs of improvement. EFAs are important to normal brain and behavioral function. Some studies suggest that taking fish oil containing omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce ADHD symptoms, though the studies have not been well-designed.
Studies that used EPO found it was no better than placebo at reducing symptoms. One study found that women with breast cancer who took GLA had a better response to tamoxifen a drug used to treat estrogen-sensitive breast cancer than those who took only tamoxifen.
But speak with your doctor before taking GLA supplements. Evidence is mixed as to whether GLA helps reduce symptoms of eczema and acne. Preliminary evidence suggests that GLA may help reduce high blood pressure, either alone or in combination with the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid EPA and docosahexaenoic acid DHA , found in fish oil. In one study, men with borderline high blood pressure who took 6g of black currant oil had a reduction in diastolic blood pressure compared to those who took placebo.
Another study examined people with intermittent claudication, pain in the legs while walking that is caused by blockages in the blood vessels. EPO has gained popularity as a way to treat hot flashes associated with menopause.
Studies are mixed. If you want to try EPO for hot flashes and night sweats, ask your doctor whether it is safe and right for you. Some evidence suggests that EPO may reduce breast pain and tenderness in people with cyclic mastalgia. It may also help reduce symptoms to a lesser extent in people with noncyclic mastalgia. However, it does not seem to be effective for severe breast pain. Some studies suggest that people who do not get enough essential fatty acids particularly EPA and GLA are more likely to have bone loss than those with normal levels of these fatty acids.
In a study of women over 65 with osteoporosis, those who took EPA and GLA supplements had less bone loss over 3 years than those who took placebo. Many of these women also experienced an increase in bone density. The symptoms that seem to improve the most are breast tenderness and feelings of depression, as well as irritability, swelling, and bloating from fluid retention. GLA is found in the plant seed oils of evening primrose, black currant, borage, and fungal oils.
Spirulina often called blue green algae also contains GLA. Most GLA supplements are capsules containing oil. Generally, high quality oil will be certified as organic by a reputable third party, packaged in light-resistant containers, refrigerated, and marked with a freshness date.
For your overall health, you should get a balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. There is much disagreement in the nutrition field about what constitutes the proper ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in one's diet.
The average diet provides plenty of omega-6 fatty acids. So most people do not need supplements. You may want to ask your doctor about taking omega-6 supplements if you have a condition such as eczema or psoriasis, arthritis, diabetes, or breast tenderness mastalgia. For nursing infants: Infants should get enough essential fatty acids in breast milk if the mother is eating a balanced diet.
Never give an infant a GLA supplement, unless it is specifically prescribed by a pediatrician. Dosage and form will vary based on your condition.
Black currant oil and borage oil are often delivered in gel caps. Speak to your physician to determine the most effective dose for your condition. Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, you should only take dietary supplements under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care provider.
DO NOT take omega-6 fatty acids if you have a seizure disorder. Several reports describe seizures in people taking EPO.
Some of these seizures developed in people with a previous seizure disorder, or in people taking epoin combination with anesthetics. People who plan to have surgery requiring anesthesia should stop taking evening primrose oil 2 weeks ahead of time.
Pregnant women should not take borage seed oil, and possibly other sources of GLA, because they may harm the fetus and induce early labor. Talk with your physician. Avoid doses of GLA greater than 3, mg per day. High levels may increase inflammation in the body. Side effects of EPO can include occasional headache, abdominal pain, nausea, and loose stools.
In animal studies, GLA is reported to decrease blood pressure. Early results in human studies do not show consistent changes in blood pressure. Laboratory studies suggest that omega-6 fatty acids, such as the fat found in corn oil, promote the growth of prostate tumor cells. Until more research is done, health care professionals recommend not taking omega-6 fatty acids, including GLA, if you are at risk for or have prostate cancer.
If you are being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use omega-6 supplements without first talking to your doctor:.
Blood-thinning medications: People taking blood-thinning medications should not take omega-6 fatty acid supplements without consulting a doctor. Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids may increase the risk of bleeding. These medications include:.
Ceftazidime: GLA may increase the effectiveness of ceftazidime. Ceftazidime, an antibiotic in a class known as cephalosporins, is used to treat a variety of bacterial infections. Chemotherapy for cancer: GLA may increase the effects of anti-cancer treatments, such as doxorubicin, cisplatin, carboplatin, idarubicin, mitoxantrone, tamoxifen, vincristine, and vinblastine.
Cyclosporine: Cyclosporine is a medication used to suppress the immune system after organ transplant. Taking omega-6 fatty acids with cyclosporine may increase the immunosuppressive effects of this medication. It may also protect against kidney damage a potential side effect from this medication.
Phenothiazines: People taking a class of medications called phenothiazines to treat schizophrenia should not take EPO. EPO may interact with these medications and increase the risk of seizures. The same may be true for other omega-6 supplements. Phenothiazines include:. Alpha-linolenic acid and the risk of prostate cancer. Das UN. Essential fatty acids and their metabolites could function as endogenous HMG-CoA reductase and ACE enzyme inhibitors, anti-arrhythmic, anti-hypertensive, anti-atherosclerotic, anti-inflammatory, cytoprotective, and cardioprotective molecules.
Lipids Health Dis. Inverse association between prostatic polyunsaturated fatty acid and risk of locally advanced prostate carcinoma. Co-supplementation of healthy women with fish oil and evening primrose oil increases plasma docosahexaenoic acid, gamma-linolenic acid and dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid levels without reducing arachidonic acid concentrations.
Br J Nutr.