Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA)

Supplement Forms/Alternate Names

  • Omega-6 Oil(s)
  • Omega-6 Fatty Acids
  • Sources of GLA Include: Black Currant Seed Oil, Borage Oil, Evening Primrose Oil


Principal Proposed Uses

Other Proposed Uses

Probably Not Effective Uses

GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) is one of the two main types of essential fatty acids . These are "good" fats that are as necessary for your health as vitamins. Specifically, GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid. (For more information on the other major category of essential fatty acids, omega-3, see the article on fish oil .) The body uses essential fatty acids to make various prostaglandins and leukotrienes. These substances influence inflammation and pain; some of them increase symptoms, while others decrease them. Taking GLA may swing the balance over to the more favorable prostaglandins and leukotrienes, making it helpful for diseases that involve inflammation. There is some evidence that GLA may be helpful for diabetic neuropathy . The supplement is widely used in the UK and other parts of Europe to treat eczema and cyclic mastalgia (a condition marked by breast pain associated with the menstrual cycle). Current evidence, however, suggests that it may not help. There are many other proposed uses of GLA based on fairly weak evidence.

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