Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA)

Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is a beneficial Omega-6 fatty acid found in certain plant-based oils. Unlike other Omega-6 fatty acids, GLA is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and is used in managing conditions like eczema, PMS, and arthritis....

Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA)

What is gamma-linolenic acid (GLA)?

Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is a polyunsaturated fatty acid, part of the Omega-6 family. It’s found in several plant-based oils, including evening primrose oil, borage oil, and black currant seed oil. Unlike most Omega-6 fatty acids, which can be pro-inflammatory, GLA can act to reduce inflammation. The body can convert linoleic acid (LA) to GLA, but this process can be inefficient, leading to the potential benefits of direct GLA supplementation.

Who would benefit from testing gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) levels?

  • Individuals with inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or eczema.
  • Women with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or breast pain.
  • Those with a family history of heart disease, as GLA may have heart health benefits.
  • People suffering from diabetic neuropathy.
  • Individuals not consuming sufficient amounts of GLA-rich foods.

What is the role of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) in the body?

GLA plays an important role in the body’s inflammatory responses. It is converted into dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA), which can produce anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. This makes GLA unique among Omega-6 fatty acids, as it can help to counteract the typically pro-inflammatory effects of other Omega-6 fats. GLA also contributes to maintaining the health and structure of cell membranes.

What are the symptoms of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) deficiency?

  • Increased susceptibility to inflammation and related health issues.
  • Dry, itchy, or flaky skin.
  • Worsening of symptoms in conditions like eczema or arthritis.
  • Hormonal imbalances, particularly related to PMS.
  • Growth retardation in children.
  • Deterioration of hair and nail health.

Test(s) that measure/test for Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA)

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