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GLA Supplements: Information

GLA or gamma linolenic acid is a beneficial type of omega 6 essential fatty acid, a derivative of another omega 6 essential fatty acid, linoleic acid or LA. Although LA is abundant in the typical diet, GLA is not, so the body must convert some LA into GLA to maintain health. Unfortunately, the efficiency of this conversion varies from person to person, declines as we age and can be affected by illness or other nutritional imbalances. So many people find that supplementing with GLA has a positive effect on their health and may even be necessary to maintain health.

GLA's Health Benefits

GLA has diverse benefits. GLA supplements can benefit women suffering from painful periods (dysmenorrhea). One study showed that women with dysmenorrhea have poorer LA to GLA conversion than healthy women.1 Another common application is to help regulate immune function with particular respect to conditions like eczema.2

Using GLA Supplements

Use as directed. Take GLA supplements 3 hours before or after fish oil, flax oil or any combination EFA product.

Side-effects and Cautions:

Supplemental gamma-linolenic acid is generally well-tolerated, and serious adverse side effects have not been observed at doses up to 2.8 g/day for 12 months. High doses of borage seed oil, evening primrose oil or black currant seed oil may cause gastrointestinal upset, loose stools or diarrhea.

1. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008;17 Suppl 1:216-9.
2. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jan;71(1 Suppl):367S-72S.