T Nation

Men Taking Evening Primrose Oil?


i've heard that it has similar effects to soy. Is this true?



Don't know that it is anything like soy, but I do take for my menopause symtoms and it has helped greatly there. Do a little research on it.



Nothing to worry about at all. Dr. Mauro DiPasquale advises taking it while on the Anabolic Diet...

         It's a plus all the way around..

                take it and get hyoooogee bro.



Setting aside that some of the claims about soy (both positive and negative) are not based on good science, I read into your question a concern that EPO is potentially estrogenic? If that is a correct reading of your question the answer is not really, but...

I suspect some of the belief that EPO is estrogenic or bad for men is that it is often marketed as a supplement specifically for women. It has been shown to have impact on several symptoms women get during PMS and even breast cancer. It works mainly through its providing the essential fatty acid gamma-linoleic acid (GLA).

The "but" is that lignans which can be found in seed oils (but usually mostly removed unless the supplement specifies it is high lignan) is a phytoesterol. These are usually seen as added flax lignans listed in the supplement ingredients.

Guys tend to get nervous when they see any estrogen or estrogen-like compound, but the way phyto (plant) estrogens and estrogen like compounds work in the body is more complex than being estrogenic. In fact some are actually estrogen antagonists rather than estrogenic on the whole.

GLA is critical in the production of the hormone prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) and prostacyclin I2. There have been studies done on these substances improving blood flow volume, esp. in smaller vessels, reducing blood pressure, reducing blood clotting potential, and being anti-inflammatory. GLA is known to make breast cells less estrogen sensitive (study on breast cancer), but I haven't seen any studies on GLA being a generalized estrogen antagonist.

Now, the big kicker is why take EPO? You shouldn't need to. The body can transform linoleic acid, which we usually eat in abundance into GLA. The problem is that eating trans fats interferes with this process, leaving people deficient in GLA. So, cut the trans fats.

Having a bit of EPO as part of a well thought-out blend of essential fatty acids is fine (Udo's choice is one of the best I've seen), but I wouldn't even bother if you are still eating lots junk food as it like taking a fat loss or muscle mass gaining supplement when you eat crappy and don't exercise. And, its only real potential benefit to training is that it has a slight anti-inflammatory effect.


The guy that runs my local natural foods store suggested Evening Primrose Oil for balancing my hormones in order to eliminate acne about a year ago. I took it for 4 or 5 months and never noticed much positive or negative. Acne may have improved a LITTLE, and I had a generally stronger feeling of well-being. Not really worth the monthly cost as far as I was concerned.


Borage Oil is better


Borage has higher GLA content and is cheaper, but it is refined to ensure that a toxic alkaloid is removed. EPO is much better studied and can be taken in an unrefined form. Unrefined organic oils contain some beneficial oil-soluble substances like carotenes, polyphenol anti-oxidants, lecithin, and plant sterols.

Refined oils can lose some of these minor components and may have other chemical changes due to heating and possible bleaching. So, which is better? I'm not sure, but I tend to lean toward the least processed oil even if it was less rich in the key EFA. Of course, EPO can also be refined, so you'd need to pay attention to that when choosing a brand.

Is there another reason you say that it is better?