Evening Primrose Oil has a good reputation for helping women’s issues. The part of evening primrose oil responsible for its reputation is GLA, or gamma linolenic acid. In fact, GLA has many other health benefits and this blog looks at its importance in helping the billions of cells in our body function well.
GLA is one of the essential fatty acids and these fats are essential for good health. GLA forms an important part of the wall of cells and also the cell’s manufacture of anti-inflammatory molecules. Without a good balance in all the essential fatty acids, we get fat and ill.
The video clip above concentrates on the cell walls. The standard ‘healthy’ Western diet, with the emphasis on vegetable oils such as sunflower oil directly leads to ill health by upsetting the balance of essential fatty acids. The standard unhealthy Western diet, constituting pre-prepared foods made from low quality ingredients, makes the cell walls go hard, so they can no longer function properly. Cells work like very busy factories of enormous complexity. Hard cell walls equate to a factory unable to get the components necessary for manufacture and storage in and the huge numbers of manufactured products plus stored goods back out, along with the waste by-products of manufacture. The more flexible and the better constructed the cell walls, the more efficiently the factories – or our body – can work.
So, without going into mind boggling complications, the current emphasis on eating such oils as sunflower, rape, or corn oils, along with eating oils that have been fiddled with – margarines, spreadable oils – mean our cell walls are dangerously inefficient. Incidentally, other components of the cell walls include cholesterol and proteins. So the current medical obsession with lower and lower cholesterol levels and vegetarianism becoming the pinnacle of healthy eating does not help our health or desire for a svelte figure.
The essential fatty acids comprise the omega 3s and the omega 6s. Fish oils contain high levels of omega 3 oils and sunflower oil and evening primrose oil contain omega 6 oils. The omega 6 oil found in sunflower seeds is called linoleic acid. Were we healthy, we would be able to convert linoleic acid into gamma linolenic acid. Unfortunately the way we eat, as outlined above along with our insatiable love of sugar, means the enzyme that does this conversion loses its effectiveness and this is why supplementation with a good source of GLA becomes essential. Looking at the cell walls only, increasing their flexibility means we can lose weight, and some of the healing mechanisms of the body can get out to do good work. So I made mention of stored goods – and in fat cells some of those stored goods are body fat, so stiff, inefficient cell walls means that body fat can’t get back out of the cell to be burnt up for energy. So if grappling with weight loss and getting frustrated, taking both fish oils and some GLA will help those cells give up their stores of blubber. Add in carnitine too and its a winner.
The 3 sources of GLA comprise evening primrose oil, blackcurrant seed oil and borage seed oil. Evening primrose oil contains about 7-14% GLA, blackcurrant seeds 15-20% and borage seed 20 – 27%. So for maximum effect, borage seed oil is the best supplement to take.
GLA has other health benefits that will be covered in future blogs. In summary, it reduces inflammation, it is good for the skin, it has a reputation for being good for PMS and some say it stimulates brown fat, the type of body fat that burns up the usual body fat. Summer beach, here we come.