|Revised Date: 04/29/11
Research over the past 25 years suggests that nutrients such as amino and fatty acids are very important to maintaining overall health as well as growing strong healthy hair and enhancing overall beauty.
One very highly regarded nutrient offering lots of hair and beauty benefits is Gamma-Linolenic Acid also widely known as GLA.
GLA is the by-product of an essential fatty acid called linoleic. In the normal human body, GLA is manufactured from ordinary linolenic acid, a substance found in dietary fat and oils.
The body utilizes GLA to make PGE, a prostaglandin that may be helpful in inhibiting blood clotting, dilating blood vessels, lowering cholesterol levels, and reducing inflammation.
PGE is also thought to have a stimulating effect on the body's ability to convert fat into energy. This helps in the prevention and control of obesity.
Some people are unable to produce GLA naturally in their bodies because of diabetes. Other diseases such as stress, aging, a high-fat diet, and excessive use of alcohol can block natural GLA production. Low levels of GLA may lead to PMS, hormonal imbalances, menstrual cramping and eczema. Studies have shown that GLA may possibly contribute to the development of arthritis.
GLA Sources & Other Sources
There are only a few natural sources of GLA. These sources include oil of Evening Primrose, mother's milk, borage oil and flax seed oil.
Evening Primrose, sometimes referred to as the King's cure all, is a flower. It was used by Native Americans as a medical remedy.
The Native Americans discovered evening primrose oil as very healing for wounds. They learned to boil the seeds (which contain the GLA) from the flower to make a liquid that could be applied directly to the skin. The utilization of Evening Primrose on the skin lead to the eventual discovery that Evening primrose oil will help prevent dehydration of the skin.
This fabulous remedy was eventually exported by the early settlers back to England, where it has been used as an herbal remedy for over two hundred years.
It is only recently that the active ingredient in evening primrose oil was found to be GLA.
Primrose Oil For Hair Growth & Beauty
Studies have shown that talking Evening Primrose Oil, which is rich in GLA, will help stop some forms of hair loss and encourage healthy tress re-growth. Most experts recommend taking 500 mg of Evening Primrose Oil in soft gels or capsules twice a day.
Taking Primrose Oil for hair loss or poor hair health is not an instant fix. Hair gurus caution that results from taking GLA can take 6-8 weeks to show up in your hair. Be patient and give the Evening Primrose a chance to work.
Primrose Oil will promote healthy growth of skin, hair and nails. The GLA found in Primrose Oil can also be used to treat brittle nails, dry and chemically damaged hair and will often have a noticeable impact on dry skin.
Some skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis may improve since a depletion of GLA has been linked to both of these skin conditions.
PMS & Hormonal Issues
Since the original Native American discoveries of this magical flower, clinical and scientific research has found many uses for evening primrose oil.
Dr. David Horrobin, M.D., a Canadian endocrinologist discovered that it "produced dramatic improvement in people who suffered from premenstrual syndrome (PMS)". Dr. Horrobin's findings have been confirmed by studies in Scotland, Wales, Finland and the United States.
Regular consumption of Evening Primrose Oil will also help balance hormones for many people.
British experiments have shown that evening primrose oil causes significant improvement in many cases of chronic eczema. Another British research group has reported significant improvement in hyperactive children who were given evening primrose oil.
GLA & Alcohol Addiction
One of the most promising uses of GLA has been for the treatment of alcoholism. B.E. Leonard, professor of pharmacology at University College, Galway, Ireland, discovered in animal experiments that alcohol damages the brain cells by interfering with the fat composition of the membranes surrounding the cells. "When the oil is administered", says Leonard, "most of these damaging effects are reversed". "Supplements of evening primrose oil, together with B complex vitamins (especially thiamin) might help some alcoholics".
Ian Geln, MD, a Scottish psychiatrist, administered evening primrose oil to 120 alcoholics in withdrawal and noted that they recovered more quickly and had fewer symptoms (hallucinations, nervousness) than would ordinarily be expected.
In other experiments with primrose oil, a number of heavy drinkers reported that they were no longer able to get as drunk, had less desire for alcohol than before, and experienced milder hangovers.
Diabetes, MS & GLA
This fatty acid may improve nerve functioning in diabetes. Although still controversial, some physicians believe that evening primrose oil may be useful in treating children with MS. It is also thought that it can delay or potentially prevent the onset of MS.
Evening primrose oil contains 45 milligrams of GLA per 500 milligram capsule. The recommended daily dose for PMS systems is 6-8 capsules. After two to three months, the dosage can be reduced to two capsules.
Some products on the market only include 9 percent GLA while others contain as much as 25 percent GLA. Borage oil contains 20-24% GLA which is the highest content of any plant source.
Evening Primrose oil or GLA offers many healing benefits in the treatment of psoriasis, diabetes, PMS, MS and hormonal issues. It has also been found to help with alcohol addiction and the reduction of obesity.
Evening Primrose should only be taken with the prior approval of your personal physical. It should be noted that Evening Primrose or other GLA related oils (Borage, Black Current Oil) should not be taken by anyone suffering from manic depression or any temporal-lobe condition such as epilepsy.
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Original Publication Date: 02/02/2002 - Revised Publication Date: 04/29/11
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