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Home > Anti-aging Research > Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)

Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)

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  • Nutritional supplement shown to be effective in reducing female hair loss - Nutra USA, 3/19/15 - "the nutritional supplement combines specific omega 3&6 from fish and blackcurrant seed oils with antioxidants (lycopene, vitamin C, and vitamin E) ... after 6 months of treatment, photograph assessment demonstrated a superior improvement in the supplemented group" - See black currant oil at Amazon.com (most health enthusiasts are already taking the rest and most people get too much omega 6 already except for the gamma linolenic acid (GLA) form as in blackcurrant seed  oil).
  • Essential oil pill prevents PMS, study suggests - Science Daily, 1/16/11 - "Women who were given capsules containing 2 grams of a combination of gamma linolenic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, other polyunsaturated acids and vitamin E reported significantly eased PMS symptoms at both 3 and 6 months after they began the treatment" - See borage oil at Amazon.com (GLA) and Jarrow FamilE (contains all eight members of the vitamin E family, includes Tocomin) at Amazon.com.  Oleic acid is omega-9 in which olive oil is a good source.  Linoleic acid is omega-6.  Most Americans get about 10 to 20 times too much omega-6 to begin with.  I don't know why they included it.  It makes me wonder about some of the researchers.  If they are showing a benefit, I would guess it's from the other ingredients and not the omega-6.  Gamma linolenic acid is an omega-6 also but it's a form that most don't get enough of.
  • Flax and borage oil may boost skin health from within - 10/3/08 - "the researchers noted a significant decrease in reddening of the skin in the flaxseed and borage oil groups of 45 and 35 per cent, respectively, compared to baseline values. No differences were recorded in the placebo group ... blood flow to the in skin also decreased in the oil groups ... Measurements of water loss from the skin showed that the oil supplements were associated with decreases of about 10 per cent after six weeks, with only the flaxseed oil group showing further decreases at the end of 12 weeks (25 per cent) ... The roughness and scaling – dry peeling skin – was also decreased significantly after 12 weeks of flaxseed and borage oil supplementation, with no differences in the placebo group" - [Abstract]
  • Affecting the Balance Between Omega-3 and Omega-6? - Dr. Weil, 5/16/08 - "Borage oil, black currant oil (and evening primrose oil) are natural sources of a fatty acid called GLA (gammalinolenic acid), an omega-6 fat that is very hard to come by in the diet. However, the omega-6 provided by these supplements is insignificant compared to the amounts we obtain from dietary sources, and shouldn't affect your omega-6/omega-3 balance. GLA is an effective anti-inflammatory agent that I recommend for arthritis, autoimmune disorders, premenstrual syndrome and for healthy growth of skin, hair, and nails. (By the way, I usually do not recommend borage oil, because it might contain pyrroldizidine alkaloids, compounds that can damage the liver.) The dose of evening primrose oil or black currant oil is 500 mg twice a day"
  • A diet enriched in eicosapentanoic acid, gamma-linolenic acid and antioxidants in the prevention of new pressure ulcer formation in critically ill patients with acute lung injury: A randomized, prospective, controlled study - Clin Nutr. 2007 Oct 12 - "A diet enriched with EPA, GLA and vitamins A, C and E is associated with a significantly lower occurrence of new pressure ulcers in critically ill patients with acute lung injury"
  • Primrose Oil Component Cuts Levels Of Cancer-causing Gene Her-2/neu - Science Daily, 11/4/05 - "Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a substance in evening primrose oil and several other plant oils used in herbal medicine, inhibits action of Her-2/neu, a cancer gene that is responsible for almost 30 percent of all breast cancers"
  • Plant oil 'acts like cancer drug' - BBC News, 11/2/05 - "It is down to a substance in the oil called gamma-linolenic acid that acts on the same receptor in tumours as the powerful breast cancer drug Herceptin"
  • Inflammation Syndrome a Red-Hot Topic - Natural Foods Merchandiser, 9/03 - "What are some of the key anti-inflammatory supplements? ... At the top of the list are omega-3 fish oils, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA, an omega-6 fat that behaves more like an omega-3) and vitamin E"
  • GLA: The Right Remedy for Eczema? - Dr. Weil, 11/21/02 - "It has specific nourishing effects on skin, hair, and nails that are not duplicated by omega–3 fatty acids ... It is true that a high ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the diet promotes inflammation by favoring synthesis of pro-inflammatory hormones (prostaglandins). But the amount of GLA needed to treat eczema and other skin conditions (500 milligrams twice a day) is too small to affect that ratio significantly"
  • Can I Stop My Hair from Thinning? - Dr. Weil, 9/13/02 - "Make sure you’re getting enough omega-3 fatty acids ... supplement your diet with GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) in the form of black currant oil or evening primrose oil"
  • Essential Fatty Acids Improve Thought Process and Behavior in Children with ADHD - New Hope Natural Media Online, 6/13/02 - "ADHD is characterized by impulsive behavior, lack of concentration, restlessness and, in some cases, learning disabilities ... The children were given either a supplement containing 186 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), 480 mg of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), 96 mg of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), 864 mg of linoleic acid, and 60 IU of vitamin E per day, or a placebo ... the children who took the essential fatty acid supplement had significant improvement in symptom scores related to learning and behavior"


  • Is there a beneficial effect of gamma-linolenic acid supplementation on body fat in postmenopausal hypertensive women? A prospective randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial - Menopause 2021 Feb 1 - "This was a prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study involving 96 postmenopausal women. Participants were divided into two groups either receiving 1,000 mg of borage oil rich in gamma-linolenic acid + vitamin E (drug) or only vitamin E (placebo) capsules for 6 months ... There was a significant reduction in the systolic and diastolic pressure as well as a significant change in waist-hip ratio (P < 0.01) in the drug group as compared with the placebo group" - See borage oil at Amazon.com.
  • Borage Oil Enhances Lamellar Body Content and Alters Fatty Acid Composition of Epidermal Ceramides in Essential Fatty Acid-Deficient Guinea Pigs - Lipids 2020 Dec 30 - "Borage oil [BO: 40.9% linoleic acid (LNA) and 24.0% γ-linolenic acid (GLA)] reverses disrupted epidermal lipid barrier in essential fatty acid deficiency (EFAD). We determined the effects of BO on lamellar body (LB) content and LNA and GLA incorporation into epidermal ceramide 1 (CER1) and epidermal ceramide 2 (CER2), major barrier lipids. EFAD was induced in guinea pigs by a diet of 6% hydrogenated coconut oil (HCO) for 10 weeks (group HCO) or 8 weeks followed by 6% BO for 2 weeks (group HCO + BO). LB content and LNA and GLA incorporation into CER1 were higher in group HCO + BO than in group HCO. Small but significant levels of LNA, GLA, and their C20-metabolized fatty acids [dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (DGLA) and arachidonic acid (ARA)] were incorporated into CER2, where ARA was detected at a level lower than LNA, but DGLA incorporation exceeded that for GLA in group HCO + BO. Dietary BO enhanced LB content and differential incorporation of GLA into CER1 and DGLA into CER2."
  • Gamma-Linolenic Acid Levels Correlate with Clinical Efficacy of Evening Primrose Oil in Patients with Atopic Dermatitis - Adv Ther. 2014 Jan 17 - "Atopic dermatitis (AD) has been related to a deficiency of delta-6-desaturase, an enzyme responsible for the conversion of linoleic acid to gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). Evening primrose oil (EPO) contains high amounts of GLA. Therefore, this study investigated whether EPO supplementation results in an increase in plasma GLA and its metabolite dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA) correlating with clinical improvement of AD, assessed by the SCORing Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD) index ... The clinical disease activity under EPO treatment correlates with the individual increase in plasma GLA levels. Thus, the results of this pilot study indicate that an increase in plasma GLA might be used as predictive parameter for responsiveness of AD to EPO therapy" - See evening primrose oil at Amazon.com.
  • Effects of EPA, γ-linolenic acid or coenzyme Q10 on serum prostate-specific antigen levels: a randomised, double-blind trial - Br J Nutr. 2012 Nov 30:1-8 - "A total of 504 healthy men with serum PSA level ≤ 2.5 ng/ml were recruited into the study ... Participants were randomly assigned to a daily dietary supplement containing n-3 fatty acids (1.12 g of EPA and 0.72 g of DHA per capsule) (group 1, n 126), n-6 fatty acid (600 mg γ-linolenic acid (GLA) each capsule) (group 2, n 126), CoQ10 (100 mg per capsule) (group 3, n 126) or a similar regimen of placebo (group 4, n 126) for 12 weeks ... EPA treatment significantly reduced serum PSA level by 30.0 (95 % CI 25, 36) % (P = 0.004) from baseline. In contrast, GLA therapy significantly increased serum PSA concentration by 15.0 (95 % CI 11, 20) % (P = 0.02). CoQ10 therapy also significantly reduced serum PSA level by 33.0 (95 % CI 27, 40) % (P = 0.002). In multivariable analysis, serum values of PSA were strongly correlated with duration of EPA (r - 0.62; 95 % CI - 0.42, - 0.77; P = 0.003), n-6 (r 0.42; 95 % CI 0.31, 0.58; P = 0.02) and CoQ10 use (r - 0.77; 95 % CI - 0.56, - 0.87; P = 0.001). There were also significant correlations between serum values of DHA, EPA, GLA and CoQ10 and serum PSA levels. The present study demonstrates that dietary supplements containing EPA, GLA or CoQ10 may significantly affect serum PSA levels" - See ubiquinol products at Amazon.com and Mega Twin EPA at Amazon.com.
  • Gamma-linolenic acid inhibits both tumour cell cycle progression and angiogenesis in the orthotopic C6 glioma model through changes in VEGF, Flt1, ERK1/2, MMP2, cyclin D1, pRb, p53 and p27 protein expression - Lipids Health Dis. 2009 Mar 17;8(1):8 - "Gamma-linolenic acid is a known inhibitor of tumour cell proliferation and migration in both in vitro and in vivo conditions ... Combination therapy using drugs with other, complementary targets and GLA could lead to gains in treatment efficacy in this notoriously difficult to treat tumour"