March 18 2021
Gamma linoleic acid is a polyunsaturated fatty acid, primarily found in seed and vegetable oils. This omega-6 fatty acid has been used for centuries in traditional medicine systems like homeopathy. The primary sources of this fatty acid are evening primrose, borage seed oil, and black currant seed oil. Available in the form of capsules in many stores worldwide, it is used for maintaining various body functions such as reproductive health, metabolism, heart health, brain functions, skeletal health etc.
Indigenous people of America used it as an anti-inflammatory medication. After a few years when it became prevalent in Europe, the people used it to treat almost everything with this oil, which explains why it is known as “king’s cure all”.
Used for diabetes
A common complication that comes with diabetes I and II is diabetic nephropathy. It is a type of kidney disease that affects many diabetic people. Gamma linoleic acid has shown some effects that might treat this condition, in a study that was carried out with rats.
Diabetic nephropathy is a type of nerve damage that causes a tingling discomfort in the extreme conditions, and makes the situation worse for people with diabetes.
Used for arthritis
One of the most common diseases, arthritis, can also be partly cured by evening primrose. Some research has shown that gamma linoleic acid can actually improve symptoms of inflammation and arthritis. The risk of side effects of this particular omega-6 fatty acid is quite low, so it is safe when used to reduce risks of this disease.
Used in premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Gamma linoleic acid is primarily used for women’s health, since ages. It is taken up by many women around the globe, to relieve symptoms of PMS or premenstrual syndrome.
However, it is advised to consult a registered medical practitioner, or more conveniently, a doctor, before taking evening primrose or gamma linoleic acid supplements.
Alvizia’s evening primrose oil, or aleneve, an active source of gamma- linoleic acid, is a dietary supplement used in various skin diseases, hair loss, and menopausal health issues.
Cold pressed and available in a pack consisting of 60 soft gel capsules, it is ideal for women’s health as it may treat hormonal or cystic acne, scleroderma, osteoporosis etc. It consists of linoleic acid and gamma linoleic acid, which are the components of myelin. hence, it is considered good for neuronal health.
It can also help in reducing risks and chances of various chronic diseases.
Benefits of evening primrose oil
- Good for osteoporosis or overall bone health: rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that causes pain and other forms of discomfort in the bones. The gamma linoleic acid content in evening primrose oil has potential benefits that can reduce or ease the pain in bones without any unwanted side effects.
- Good for heart health: a large fraction of the world’s population dies due to heart failure or heart diseases. It has become very important to take care of one’s heart. Because of the anti-inflammatory properties of evening primrose oil, it is quite effective in taking good care of the heart. As, most people with heart diseases have inflammation in their bodies. Evening primrose oil is also beneficial in reducing blood cholesterol levels.
- Good for Premenstrual syndrome: symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS such as depression, bloating, discomfort and irritation, may be treated or relieved by the usage of evening primrose oil. Premenstrual syndrome can be a symptom of sensitivity to prolactin. Gamma linoleic acid converts normal prostaglandin into prostaglandin E1, which helps in preventing symptoms of PMS. A study that involved research on the effects of evening primrose on premenstrual syndrome, found out that supplements of evening primrose, vitamin B6, vitamin E was actually beneficial in relieving symptoms of PMS.
- Good for breast pain: some women might experience severe pain in the breasts during their periods, which cause major discomfort that might affect their day-to-day lives. Again, anti-inflammatory properties of the gamma linoleic acid component present in evening primrose can be attributed to the relieved breast pain. According to a research, taking doses of evening primrose with vitamin E can decrease severity of breast pain.
- Good for skin health: oral supplementation of evening primrose can get you a smooth skin, research suggests. It does so by enhancing elasticity, moisture, firmness and resistance to fatigue due to its active components. Gamma linoleic acid, which is polyunsaturated fatty acid found in evening primrose oil, is important for an ideal skin structure and functions. And since the skin doesn’t produce gamma linoleic acid on its own, supplementation for skin benefits is recommended by dieticians.
- Good for people with hypertension: many people believe that high blood pressure can be treated by evening primrose supplementation. A study has explored the benefits attributed to evening primrose in treating high blood pressure, but, however, more research is needed to conclude the same. One must consult a dietician or a physician in taking evening primrose supplementation.
- Good for nerve pain: peripheral neuropathy can be caused by diabetes as it is a common side effect. Symptoms such as sensitivity to hot and cold substances, tingling discomfort, numbness and weakness, can be cured by evening primrose oil. It has been used in homeopathic and other traditional medicine systems, to cure these symptoms.
- Good for skin diseases: evening primrose oil can benefit the skin by retaining its moisture, reducing inflammation and reducing no. of harmful cells that may induce other problems too. Evening primrose has shown some promising effects against cheilitis, a condition that causes inflammation and pain in the lips due to the drug accutane.
Eczema, an inflammatory skin disorder, can also be treated by evening primrose. However, more research for the same is required to draw conclusions.
Side effects of evening primrose
Generally, taking evening primrose supplementation is considered safe for most of the people (short term use). However, the long term usage safety hasn’t been explored much yet. There is a need for more scientific and reliable research studies to draw conclusions about the long term usage of evening primrose.
There are some mild and very, very rare side effects of the evening primrose which includes: upset stomach, stomach pain, soft stools and headache. In these cases, it is advised to consult a physician as soon as possible.