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Gamma-linolec acid (GLA) oil is an omega-6 essential fatty acid found in some types of vegetables. Though no conclusive results have proven any positive results of taking GLA supplements, the oil has been used to treat or prevent a wide variety of ailments. It is commonly used to treat pain caused by inflammation, such as with arthritis; eczema; and various premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms may be alleviated by taking GLA oil for several months.
Essential fatty acids are “good” fats that the body needs for certain biological functions, but one can only get them from food; the body cannot produce these fats on its own. Omega-3 fatty acids such as fish oil have become popular in recent years. Omega-6 fatty acids are also important for overall health. Omega-6 acids such as GLA are found in vegetable oils from evening primrose, black currants, and hemp seeds.
The body can convert omega-6 fatty acids into hormone-like substances, one of which is called series 1 prostaglandins (PGE1). As with Omega-3s, these compounds help to regulate bodily functions. Immune health and brain function can be stimulated as a result.
Though some types of Omega-6s have been found to increase inflammation, GLA may actually reduce inflammation. GLA oil supplements are believed to help treat eczema, a skin disease caused by inflammation of the outermost layer of the skin. Pain commonly caused by PMS symptoms, such as swelling of the breasts, may also be reduced by taking the supplement.
Yet another use of GLA is as a possible treatment for diabetic neuropathy. People with diabetes sometimes have pain associated with injuries to small blood vessels. It has been suggested that GLA’s anti-inflammatory characteristics could help those suffering from this troublesome disorder.
Studies have also shown that GLA’s may help fight autoimmune disorders in which the body attacks its own healthy cells. By helping to keep the immune system in healthy working order, GLA oil may have further benefits, such as helping fight potential viruses. Studies are now being conducted to test GLA’s ability at attacking the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), which commonly leads to the often-fatal Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
It is important to understand that no studies have proven any solid data that suggests GLA oil should be used to treat any disorder or disease. Even those who believe in the supplement’s powers admit that one may need to ingest daily doses for several months before positive results are seen. While no major side effects have been related to supplements in small, recommended doses, those who are pregnant should be cautious and opt not to take GLA oil until studies are conclusive.
PGE1 is the body's most potent anti-inflammatory. It is made from Parent Omega 6. If you have any doubts about its effectiveness, I suggest the next time you have joint pain, you rub some unadulterated sunflower oil in it.
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