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Home :: A - Z Supplements :: Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)

GLA - Gamma Linolenic Acid
& the its Therapeutic Uses

Borage Oil is rich in GLAThe most well known omega-6 fatty acid is called gamma-linolenic acid or GLA. GLA is found in motherīs milk and in the seeds of evening primrose, borage and black currant. GLA is a standard treatment for premenstrual symptoms including breast tenderness (also called mastalgia, mastodynia or mastopatia) in Europe and the United States - but GLA has many more benefits. It is even mentioned in the AMA's (American Medical Association) official textbook evaluating drugs.

The most important dietary omega 6 essential fatty acid is linoleic acid, which occurs in large quantities in plant oils. However, linoleic acid is biologically inactive and cannot be used by the organism in its naturally occurring form. For this to occur, the body must first change Linoleic Acid into Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA).

A diet rich in plant oils does not necessarily protect against deficiencies of GLA, which can therefore be taken in the form of a food supplement.

GLA is extracted from plants which are rich in this fatty acid. The highest natural content is found in the medicinal herb borage (25% of which is composed of GLA). Blackcurrant seed oil contains rather smaller quantities (14%) of this essential fatty acid, while evening primrose contains 5-9% GLA.

Excellent sources of GLA include:

When the body's production of GLA is facilitated, production of the beneficial prostaglandin PGE1 increases. This prostaglandin has a number of beneficial effects:

  • it reduces the tendency of blood platelets to aggregate and thereby reduces the risk of blood clots
  • it expands contract blood vessels, which may alleviate pains associated with angina pectoris (Angina)
  • It expands the respiratory passages, prevents mucous formation, infections and asthma attacks
  • It reduces cholesterol production
  • It reinforces the effects of insulin
  • It improves the activity of the immune system (primarily via its influence on the T-Lymphocytes)

The improved functioning of the T-Lymphocytes can be of great importance in the event of disturbed immune functions with, for example, ulcerative colitis, arthritic and related disorders, allergies, asthma and skin diseases.

GLA therapy may also help with the following:

  • Disorders in the central nervous system: in schizophrenia and disseminated sclerosis the patient often has abnormally low PGE1 levels
  • for hangovers and other withdrawal symptoms after excessive alcohol consumption
  • Alcoholic liver damage
  • Chest pains, aches and fluid build ups (Oedema)
  • Menstrual pains caused by increased activity of harmful prostaglandins
  • Premenstrual tension
  • Hyperactivity in children

The Balance between Omega 6s and Omega 3s

Today the relation of omega-6 (plant based oils) and omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils) in the Western diet is unbalanced. The ideal ratio is 4:1, but in the EU the average relation is 5:1 and in many individuals 10:1 or even higher, even 20:1. The intake of omega-6 being too high in relation to omega-3. I have seen in blood analyses that supplementation with GLA alone further diminishes the content of omega-3´s in the blood serum. Therefore, I always recommend that people taking GLA (which belongs to the omega-6 family) should simultaneously take fish oil (omega-3).

Barlean's Essential Woman Contains the optimum ratio of Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. Vegan Friendly.

Barlean's Organic Essential Woman is not only an excellent food supplement. It is also an ideal, balanced oil for women with premenstrual syndrome, pre, peri, and post menopausal complaints and is eminently suitable for the prevention of breast cancer.

Barlean's Omega Twin with Flax and Borage Oils
Barlean's Omega Twin is a significant advancement in essential fatty acid nutrition. This product combines our organic flaxseed oil, the world's richest source of alpha linolenic acid, (LNA) Omega-3 with our borage oil, the world's richest source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) Omega-6. A special synergism exists between these two important fatty acids that may potentiate their effects. Both LNA and GLA are required in balancing the body's hormonal response to conditions associated with allergy, inflammation, pain and swelling.
Evening Primrose Complex
Essential Woman an Omega 3 6 9 Complex with organic oils including EPO and Lignans
Skin Care & Beauty
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