Image for  Gamma linolenic acid (GLA)
Gamma linolenic acid (GLA)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Blackcurrant berry, blackcurrant dried leaf, blackcurrant oil, blackcurrant seed oil, borage oil (Borago officinalis), borage seed oil, BSO, bugloss, burage, burrage, casis, cassis, cureall EPO, Efamol, European black currant, European blackcurrant, evening primrose oil, fever plant, fungal oil, king's grosellero negro, hempseed oil, huile de hourrache, huile d'onagre, n-6, n-6 essential fatty acids, night willow-herb (Oenothera biennis), omega 6, omega-6, omega-6 fatty acids, omega 6 oil, omega-6 oil, polyunsaturated fatty acid, primrose, PUFA, quinsy berries, ribes nero, ribes nigri folium (Ribes nigrum), scabish, siyah frenkuzumu, squinancy berries, starflower, starflower oil, sun drop, zwarte bes, (Z,Z,Z)-Octadeca-6,9,12-trienoic acid.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) is a dietary omega-6 fatty acid found in many plant oil extracts. Commercial products are typically made from seed extracts from evening primrose (average oil content 7-14%), blackcurrant (15-20%), borage oil (20-27%) and fungal oil (25%). To a limited extent, GLA is found naturally in the diet in human breast milk, cold-water fish and in organ meats such as liver, but at very low concentrations (1-2%).
  • GLA is available commonly as a dietary supplement and is sold over the counter in capsules or oil to treat a variety of conditions such as eczema, oral mucoceles (mucus polyps), hyperlipidemia, depression, postpartum depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, psoriasis, muscle aches, and menopausal flushing.
  • Some well-designed randomized clinical trials have found good evidence for GLA treatment in rheumatoid arthritis, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and diabetic neuropathy.
  • Little or no effect has been found in treatment of atopic dermatitis, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), cancer prevention, menopausal flushing, systemic sclerosis, and hypertension.
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Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.