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April 25, 2019

What is Gamma Linolenic Acid

Omega-6 fatty acids are essential for brain development, bone health, metabolism and plays an integral role in growth. Omega-6 fatty acids consist of linolenic acid, arachidonic acid and gamma-linolenic acid. For this article, we will be focusing on the different health benefits that people can get from gamma-linolenic acid. So, what is gamma-linolenic acid and how important it is for our body?

Gamma-linolenic acid or GLA is an omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty substance that can be found in various sources such as plants like hemp, evening primrose and borage. Every cell structure in our body depends on fatty acids formed from GLA.

But, our body cannot make or produce gamma-linolenic acid on its own, so it is very important to get it from the outside sources such as food that we eat or taking dietary supplements containing omega-6 essential fatty acids since it is very essential for our daily diet to achieve optimal health. 

Read and know more about the health benefits that you can get from gamma-linolenic acid and what makes it essential for your daily diet. 


Sources of Gamma-Linolenic Acid 

Evening Primrose Oil. Evening primrose or Oenothera biennis is a plant that has yellow flowers which are native to North America. The oil from evening primrose is a rich source of GLA and has therapeutic effects such as relieving symptoms of eczema, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and diabetic neuropathy. 

Blackcurrant Seed Oil. Blackcurrant or Ribes nigrum is a woody shrub that grows berries which are native to Europe and northern Asia. It is a rich source of gamma-linolenic acid that can effectively reduce muscle or joint pain, especially for people who are suffering from arthritis and musculoskeletal disorders. It is also effective in treating painful periods, breast pain and allergies.

Borage Oil. Borage or Borago officinalis is a medicinal herb that has edible leaves and flowers. Borage seed oil is a fundamental source of GLA that is used for treating skin disorders such as eczema and neurodermatitis, relieving arthritis pain and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. It has been proven to be helpful in reducing the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke attacks. 

Hemp Seed Oil. Hemp or Cannabis sativa is a plant that has been used since ancient times. The presence of GLA makes it very nutritious and useful for various therapeutic properties. It can be used to aid digestion, ease arthritis pain, boost immunity and provide menstrual support. 


Health Benefits

1. Skin Health. Omega-6 is packed with nutrients that can make your skin healthy. Can reduce acne and fine lines which can make your skin youthful and glowing. Moreover, it can also help in treating skin conditions like eczema.

2 Lowers Blood Pressure and Glucose Levels. Gamma-linolenic acid can reduce total cholesterol levels, especially the bad ones. It can also decrease your body's triglycerides and glucose levels which is good for your heart and health.

3. Cardiovascular Health. Since gamma-linolenic acid has anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective effects, it may help you prevent from having atherosclerosis or clogged arteries and age-related cardiovascular health problems. 

4. Nails and Hair Health. Can promote the healthy growth of hair and nails for it has antioxidant properties and regenerative abilities. It can make your nails stronger, prevent you from having dandruff and hair loss.

5. Prevents Nerve Damage. Taking gamma-linolenic acid for about 6 to 12 months can prevent nerve damage in people with nerve pain that is caused by type 1 or type 2 diabetes which is called diabetic neuropathy. 

6. Relieve Arthritis. Researches show that GLA can ease the pain in swelling and inflammation among people who are suffering from different forms of arthritis such as osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. 

7. Allergy Relief. Used for treating allergies, people who are prone to allergies have lower levels of gamma-linolenic acid that’s why they require additional essential fatty acids in order to prevent allergy attacks.

8. Brain Health. Omega-6 fatty acids together with omega-3 all play crucial roles for healthy brain function and memory. Can reduce your risk from having brain problems such as reduced learning and age-related memory loss.

9. Premenstrual Syndrome. Gamma-linolenic acid can balance your hormones and has been proven to reduce symptoms of premenstrual syndrome which include hot flashes, mood swings, menstrual cramps, breast pain etc. 

10. Reduces Fatigue and Stress. Supplementation of GLA can improve symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome which include depression, fatigue and poor concentration. Can improve your mood, uplift your spirits and reduce stress.


Dosage and Duration 

Please be advised that before taking supplements or medicines, it is very much important to consult your healthcare professional. Also, remember that it is very essential to always read the label of any products and strictly follow the instructions before using them.

Children 2 to 12 years old. Gamma-linolenic acid can be found in Omega-6 supplements which can help alleviate symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. Children can be given 1 capsule a day or you can squeeze the content of the capsule into milk, juice, cereal or as professionally prescribed. 

Adults. For adults, the recommended dosage is taking 3 capsules daily with food, or as directed by your healthcare professional. 

For diabetic neuropathy: 480 mg per day is the suggested dosage.

For rheumatoid arthritis: The recommended dosage is taking 750 mg to 2.8 grams daily for 6 to 12 months. 

For moderate hypertension: The recommended daily dosage is 1.3 grams to 2 grams daily. 


Precautions and Interactions

Gamma-linolenic acid is generally safe, however, it is still best to consult your healthcare provider about taking omega-6 supplements since there are a few mild side effects.

Children and Pregnant Women.  Keep out of reach of children for it may cause serious side effects when not properly administered. Omega-6 fatty acids are likely safe for the daily diet, however pregnant or nursing women should stay on the safe side by consulting their healthcare provider.

Bleeding Disorders. Supplements that contain gamma-linolenic acid might slow blood clotting, the reason why there's concern that it might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. It is advised that you should be taking gamma-linolenic acid for at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Anticoagulants. Gamma linolenic acid might increase the chances of bleeding and bruising if taken together with anticoagulants or antiplatelet drugs. Some of this medication are aspirin, ibuprofen, heparin and others.

Phenothiazines. Taking gamma-linolenic along with phenothiazines may increase the risk of having seizures in some people. Some of the phenothiazines medications are chlorpromazine, fluphenazine, thioridazine and others.

Disclaimer: The vitamin health information published on this web page is solely intended for educational purposes. VitaminsOnly strongly recommends to consult health care professionals for any questions concerning your health.


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