T Nation

GLA Anyone?

My GF’s hippy mum is allways throwing herbal remedies and supplements at me. Most of em suck. However, lately its been evening primrose oil and shes harping on about GLA. I don’t see it mentioned on here in any of the articles… Is it worth taking? its an Omega-6, yet seems to be anti-inflammatory, are all O-6’s bad or is this one good?

Im confused between actual benefits and marketing.

[quote]Beatnik wrote:
My GF’s hippy mum is allways throwing herbal remedies and supplements at me. Most of em suck. However, lately its been evening primrose oil and shes harping on about GLA. I don’t see it mentioned on here in any of the articles… Is it worth taking? its an Omega-6, yet seems to be anti-inflammatory, are all O-6’s bad or is this one good?

Im confused between actual benefits and marketing.[/quote]

GLA is anti-inflammatory. Sources are evening primrose oil, borage seed oil and black currant seed oil. Probably more important to take fish oil as a supp.

It really hasn’t panned out…

I’ll get you more info after work…

Mufasa

Didn’t either LL or JB point to a study where participants got the best results with 4g of fish oil combined with 2g of GLA. If I remember right, they work well together.

Okay…

GLA…

GLA is anti-inflammatory…in very low doses (the doses one would get in a weeks worth of SLOW COOKING…NOT instant…oatmeal)…

The problem with supplemental GLA is that it leads to a buildup of DGLA that overwhelms the amount of EPA needed to inhibit the delta-5-desaturase enzyme, leading to INCEASED production of arachidonic acid (the precursor to pro-inflammatory eicosanoids).

The amount of GLA obtained from slow-cooking oatmeal in a week should suffice, without suffering the above “spillover” effect.

Bottom Line?

Supplemental GLA is actually PRO inflammatory…

Hope this helps!

(If you want abstracts…GOOGLE key words in my response…)

Mufasa

Mafusa,

The omega 6/GLA pathway does lead to arachadonic acid. However it also leads to the production of anti-inflammatory eicosanoids (book is at home with which specific ones). I’ve been trying for years to figure out what determines whether the net effect is pro/anti-inflammatory. Anyway it seems to work well as an anti-inflammatory in a number of studies:

PDR (physician’s desk reference) on GLA:

http://www.pdrhealth.com/drug_info/nmdrugprofiles/nutsupdrugs/gam_0120.shtml

Lots of info including…GLA, supplied in the form of evening primrose oil or borage seed oil, has been studied for many years for its possible effects in arthritis and other inflammatory processes. This is not surprising given its ability to modulate the pathways toward an anti-inflammatory state. It has been shown to suppress inflammation and reduce joint tissue injury in many animal models. Since an early double-blind study demonstrated significant improvement in sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who received 540 milligrams of GLA per day for a year (relapsing when switched to placebo for three months), several other clinical studies have followed. These have yielded some encouraging results…

More info with studies here:

http://healthinfo.healthgate.com/GetContent.aspx?token=b696f142-edf4-4d7f-a7ba-dc89ceee0ace&chunkiid=21587&siteid=83cdf2b9-1739-11d4-a2d1-00508b62be1f&url=http://www.memorialhospitaljax.com/

[quote]ScottL wrote:
Mufasa,

The omega 6/GLA pathway does lead to arachadonic acid. However it also leads to the production of anti-inflammatory eicosanoids (book is at home with which specific ones). [/quote]

people also have to remember that its not just a simple, pro or anti inflammatory action that we are looking.

Some of the EPA series prostaglandins are pro-inflammatory, however the strenght is less than ALA derived cytokines.
Its more complex than good bad nothing inbetween sort of stuff.

[quote]cycomiko wrote:
ScottL wrote:
Mufasa,

The omega 6/GLA pathway does lead to arachadonic acid. However it also leads to the production of anti-inflammatory eicosanoids (book is at home with which specific ones).

people also have to remember that its not just a simple, pro or anti inflammatory action that we are looking.

Some of the EPA series prostaglandins are pro-inflammatory, however the strenght is less than ALA derived cytokines.
Its more complex than good bad nothing inbetween sort of stuff.[/quote]

cycomiko,

OK got Udo’s book in front of me.

I can certainly see how (assuming Udo’s diagram on page 20 still bears resemblance to reality):

Both:

GLA–>DGLA–> series one prostaglandins

and

DGLA–>AA–>series 2 PG (and other bad stuff).

  1. But the question for someone who is not a scientist but who does recommend supps is, is the net effect anti-inflammatory e.g. I currently recommend EPA/DHA + gla as part of a post surgery regimen (once bleeding has stopped). Is there anything to say I should take GLA out of this mix? GLA also seems to work well for diabetic neuropathy.

  2. It occurs to me that the enzyme (delta 6 desaturase) converts DGLA–>AA BUT has a higher affinity for ALA (flax) then DGLA. So if there is any question of GLA having a net inflammatory effect, one can take flax with the GLA and prevent (or decrease) the conversion of DGLA–>AA.

  3. On a related topic, the reason Barry Sears (of Zone fame) dislikes (last I heard) flax is because flax competes for delta 6 desaturase and decreases conversion of LA—>GLA. While I suspect there may be some truth to what he says, this can be prevented by having anyone taking flax take GLA. Right?

Thoughts cycomiko?