Borage Oil (CT–438)
Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)
An Old “New” Treatment for Artritis
For years, we’ve been recommending gamma linolenic acid (GLA), a fatty acid found in borage oil, as a treatment for arthritis. (Linolenic acid is similar to linoleic acid, another essential fatty acid critical for good health.) Finally, a study performed at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, confirms that GLA can reduce the aches and pains of arthritis, but without the side effects normally associated with other pain medications. In the year-long study, reported in the November 1996 issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism, 56 men and women took either GLA capsules (2.34 grams daily) or a placebo along with their regular prescription arthritis drugs for six months. Those taking the GLA were six times more likely to have significant improvement in joint pain and swelling than those taking the placebo. In the latter subjects, symptoms remained the same or even worsened. For the second six months, all patients were given GLA capsules. At the end of the year, half of the people using GLA experienced a 50 percent reduction in symptoms such as pain and stiffness. In fact, about 12 percent of the participants were able to reduce their dosage of prescription drugs after using GLA. GLA did not work overnight – it took several weeks before people experienced any real pain relief – but for most of the participants, their patience paid off.
Essential Fatty Acids
Show me someone who is on an extremely low-fat diet, and I will show you someone who has dry skin and dull, lifeless hair. Some fat in your diet is absolutely essential for healthy, glowing skin. In particular, essential fatty acids, such as gamma linoleic acid, help the skin retain its elasticity and seals in moisture. Several of the supplements I have already reviewed (flaxseed oil, conjugated linoleic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, evening primrose oil) are essential fatty acids. However, if you have dry skin, it is also important to use an external moisturizer with essential fatty acids for best results. Read the product labels to see if the moisturizers contain essential fatty acids. I don’t recommend opening up capsules of essential fatty acids that are meant to be taken orally. These products not only are too greasy to be pleasant to use but may not be as well absorbed as a product specifically designed for external use. Products also containing liposomes and hyaluronic acid are good choices because they help to deliver moisture more effectively to the deep cells within the skin.
Your body requires fats to make your body work and prevent disease. The major shift in food consumption to a low fat diet deprives your body of essential fatty acids. Instead of eliminating fat from your diet you need to add “good” fats to your eating and nutrient supplementation program.
Fats occur in the following groups:
Stearidonic acid occurs in black currant seeds
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid
(DHA) occurs in fish, nuts, and lamb
Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) occurs in borage oil, black
current seed, and evening primrose oil
Dihumogamma-linolenic acid (DGLA) occurs in mother’s milk
Arachidonic acid occurs in meats and animal products
Oleic acid occurs in olive, almond, avocado, peanut, pecan,cashew, filbert, macadamia oils, butter and animal fat
Stearic acid occurs in beef, mutton, pork, butter and cocoa butter
Palmitic acid occurs in coconut, palm, and palm kernel
Butyric acid occurs in butter
Arachidic acid occurs in peanuts
The omega-6 fatty acids produce inflammation and the omega-3 fatty acids decrease inflammation.
Functions of fatty acids in your body:
The following are clinical manifestations of essential fatty acid deficiency:
There are two essential fats that your body cannot make by itself and you have to ingest them. They are linoleic acid (omega-6 fatty acid) and linolenic acid (omega-3 fatty acid). Neither of these groups of fatty acids can be made by your body and therefore they must be eaten or taken as a supplement.
Your body requires omega-6 fatty acids to maintain your health. However, if you intake too many of them you cause inflammation by producing prostaglandins that go down an inflammatory pathway instead of an anti-inflammatory pathway. The standard American diet is very low in omega-3 fatty acids and very high in omega-6 fatty acids. It is best to intake three to six parts of omega-6 fatty acids to one part omega-3 fatty acids instead of what most Americans eat which is between 10:1 to 25:1.
Your body requires zinc, magnesium, niacin, vitamin C, vitamin A, biotin, B vitamins, and other nutrients to convert fatty acids.
What causes a deficiency of fatty acids in your body:
Diseases treated by fatty acids:
Heart disease (prevent and treat)
High blood pressure
Helps to prevent cancer of the breast, colon, lung, skin and prostate
Arthritis (rheumatoid and osteo)
Diabetes (prevent and treat)
Irregular heart rhythms
Increases memory and decreases
Prevent memory decline cognitive decline
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Benign familial tremor
Eye disease (retinal)
Stroke (prevention, recovery)
Brain tumor (glioma)
Menopause (hot flashes)
Numbness and tingling
Fatty acid intake can change the amount of medication that you may need. You may require less Prozac or insulin, for example. If you are taking blood thinners then consult your doctor concerning the amount of fatty acids you should intake.
Fatty acids can become rancid and therefore should be refrigerated. Take vitamin E when using omega-3 fatty acids to prevent oxidation. Some people experience burping up of fatty acids. This can be avoided by putting them in the freezer prior to use. This does not destroy their effectiveness. Have your doctor measure your essential and metabolic fatty acids.
Trans fatty acids do not occur naturally in nature. They were developed by the food industry to help food stay fresh longer. They have been shown to increase LDL (bad cholesterol), decrease HDL (good cholesterol), increase triglycerides, increase lipoprotein (a), and make platelets stickier which increases blood clots. Furthermore, trans fatty acids cause your cell membranes to leak, disrupting cellular metabolism and allowing toxins to enter your cells. All processed oils contain trans fatty acids. Consequently, do not use processed oils. The more solid the oil, the more trans fatty acids include in it. Liquid vegetable oils contain up to 6 percent trans fats and margarines and shortening up to 58 percent trans fatty acids. In Europe there are mandates against trans fatty acids. Anything that says hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated contains trans fatty acids. Trans fatty acids will increase your risk of heart disease. Furthermore, trans fatty acids interfere with your body’s ability to make its own DHA.
Trans fatty acids occur in:
Boxed foods Potato chips
Breads Corn chips/tortilla chips
Frozen dinners Margarine
Processed meats Mayonnaise