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Gamma Linolenic Acid

Veterinarian Reviewed on June 15, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized

Gamma Linolenic Acid


Gamma Linolenic Acid or (GLA) is considered the most potent form of borage seed oil. It is an omega-6- fatty acid and it is recognized as an essential fatty acid that is necessary in the many metabolic interactions of the human body as well as in maintaining health of several body organs and tissues.

Gamma Linolenic Acid is also found in many types of plant oils. It may also be known as polyunsaturated fatty acids which has a very important function in stimulating the development of healthy skin, hair growth, maintaining strong bones and also regulating many systems of the human body.

History and Origin

Gamma Linolenic Acid is obtained from plant based oils which includes borage oil, black currant seed oil and also primrose oil. There are many other vegetable oils that contain Linolenic acid. A healthy diet can also increase the amount of Gamma Linolenic Acid in the body aside from taking supplements that contain the essential daily dose of this omega- 6- fatty acid. Supplements that contain Gamma Linolenic Acid is the ideal supplement to use instead of just taking Linolenic acid since it can reduce inflammation instead of promoting it, which is what other omega- 6- fatty acids do.

Ancient Uses

The use of Gamma Linolenic Acid during ancient times specifically has yet heard of. However, the natural source of this essential fatty acid, plant based oils like borage seed oil and primrose oil, were used for many ailments of the integumentary system. Plant oils served as moisturizers and skin cleansers and were also used to treat minor skin infections and wounds.

Modern Uses

In modern times, Gamma Linolenic Acid was used to treat many inflammatory illnesses of the human body. It can significantly decrease joint inflammation in rheumatism and also decrease nerve pain in diabetic neuropathy. Patients who have used evening primrose oil, a source of Gamma Linolenic Acid, for their rheumatism has reported reduced pain, swelling and stiffness of the affected joints.

Gamma Linolenic Acid is also used to treat allergies. There are also several research studies regarding the effectiveness of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This essential fatty acid is also seen as a treatment for skin conditions like eczema and may have the ability to reduce the severe itching and skin inflammation found in severe cases of dermatitis.

It has also been applied in the treatment of menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats and headaches. It can be also used to treat PMS symptoms as well. Osteoporosis is also an illness that can be prevented with the use of Gamma Linolenic Acid supplements.

Side Effects

There are medications that can possibly interact with Gamma Linolenic Acid. It is not advisable to take this essential fatty acid when you have a history of seizures. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are also cautioned in taking supplements and natural sources of Gamma Linolenic Acid.

It is also advisable to avoid high doses of Gamma Linolenic Acid which may cause increased inflammation in the body. A recommended regular daily dose of 3,000 is considered acceptable.

Read also: ADHD

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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