Borage oil contains GLA or Gamma Linolenic Acid which is an omega 6 fatty acid. GLA is an essential fatty acid that our body is not able to synthesize itself and that is why we need it from outside sources as food supplement.
Gamma Linolenic is beneficial for several disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory disorders, atopic dermatitis or eczema, cancer, infantile seborrheic dermatitis, high blood pressure, increased cholesterol levels in blood, diabetes and menstrual irregularities.
Benefits And Uses Of Borage Oil And Gamma Linolenic Acid:
There is lack of data for clinical trials with Borage oil as most of trials with GLA had been with evening primrose oil. The degenerative disorders has grown to epidemic levels in modern civilization and it might be coincidentally true that the degenerative disorders are associated with engineered fats and oils.
Engineered fats and oils are not natural fat but they are hydrogenated oils or refined or chemically processed oils. They are not wholesome for our health. That is why more concern and studies are available regarding natural oils like borage oil, evening primerose oil and others.
Rheumatoid Arthritis, Other inflammatory Disorders And Borage Oil And Gamma Linolenic Acid:
Borage oil is beneficial for Rheumatoid Arthritis that is why it is advocated for other related disorders like Ulcerative Colitis and Sjogren’s syndrome.
Researcher Leventhal published a randomized double blind, placebo controlled study with 37 patients who received 1.4 gm of GLA daily. These patients had Rheumatoid arthritis and active synovitis.
Treated group reported 36% reduction in number of tender joints and 28% reduction in swollen joints against the insignificant results from placebo control group. No significant adverse effects were reported.
Leventhal L J, et al. Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with gammalinolenic acid. Ann Intern Med 1993;119:867-73.
Another study is reported
with 7 patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis who received 1.1 gm of borage seed
oil for 12 weeks. Majority of these patients got relief.
Pullman-Mooar S, et al. Alteration of the cellular fatty acid profile and the production of eicosanoids in human monocytes by gamma-linolenic acid. Arthritis Rheum 1990;33:1526-33.
Zurier RB, Rossetti RG, Jacobson EW, et al. Gamma-linolenic acid treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Arthritis Rheum 1996;39:1808-17.
Borage Oil, Gamma Linolenic Acid And Cancer:
Not much studies are available in this front. There is only some evidence of its role in Cerebral Gliomas. Theoretically it can provide enhanced defense against abnormal cell proliferation.
Atopic Dermatitis Or Eczema And Borage Oil And Gamma Linolenic Acid:
Borage oil is used to treat people with eczema or atopic dermatitis. The treatment resulted in reduction of skin inflammation, dryness, itching and scaliness. There were no reported side effects.
Landi G. Oral administration of borage oil in Atopic Dermatitis. J Appl Cosmetology 1993;11:115-20.
However another controlled study remained unable to reproduce the same positive effects. On further examination it was found that this study was conducted with the 500 mg of GLA daily dosage and it is not justified to report its failure under these conditions.
In this double blind, multicenter study, 167 adults with stable atopic eczema were given 500 mg of borage oil capsules over a period of 24 weeks and the results failed to show significant benefit.
Borage oil or GLA is food supplement. If Vitamin C is needed in Scurvy in the dosage of 1 gm or more per day and we give it only 200 mg daily, we can anticipate the results already.
Henz BM, et al. Double-blind, multicentre analysis of the efficacy of borage oil in patients with atopic eczema. Br J Dermatol 1999;140:685-8.
Another experiment was conducted to know the effects of borage oil containing skin creams on dry and damaged skin of 24 healthy subjects with dry and scaly skin. It showed that borage oil is able to restore the moisture and softness of dry skin.
Nissen, H.P., Blitz, H., and Mugglie, R. 1995. The effects of gamma linolenic acid on skin smoothness, humidity and TEWL – A clinical study. Inform. 6;4:5 19.
Borreck S, Hildebrandt A, Forster J. Borage seed oil and atopic dermatitis. Klinische Pediatrie 1997;203:100-4.
Infantile Seborrheic Dermatitis And Gamma Linolenic Acid Or Borage Oil:
Another study was undertaken to find out the role of borage oil external application in the diaper a rea of children suffering from Infantile seborrheic dermatitis.
This condition is characterized by dry scales and crusts on the scalp, eyelids, face, armpits and groin area.
Within 10 t0 12 days all the 48 children were found free from lesions even from the area where it was not applied. Later after the condition was improved, the topical application was further continued for two to three times a week and the condition never relapsed with this protocol. When the children reached the age of seven months, there were no reported relapse even after discontinuing with its use.
Blood Pressure And Borage Oil Or Gamma Linolenic Acid:
Clinical studies of borage oil suggest it to be useful in reducing the reactivity of heart and blood vessels to stress. Its use resulted in reduced systolic blood pressure and heart rate and increasing task performance. It is believed to act through vasodilatation or dilating the blood vessels.
Cholesterol And Borage Oil:
Research studies on cholesterol have reported mixed results.
Asthma And Borage Oil Or Gamma Linolenic Acid:
Some small studies in humans show that borage treatment might prevent or reduce some inflammatory processes in Asthma.
Borage Oil, GLA Supplements And Diabetes:
Center For Diabetes Research, at Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas, conclusively demonstrated the importance of oils with EFAs in preventing cardiovascular complications due to Diabetes.
This study was not widely publicized as these oils are natural nutrients and pharmaceutical companies can’t patent and market them for great profit.
Diabetic neuropathy patients from seven medical centers received GLA in borage seed oil and this condition was reversed with borage oil or GLA use. The response of our body to inflammation, pain and swelling is much favorable with GLA use.
The regulation of arterial muscle tone resulted in lower blood pressure and optimal circulation.
The results were summarized as:
“Diabetics have been found to possess faulty fatty acid metabolism which may contribute to the cardiovascular complications associated with the disease. Scientific research has established the reduction of certain harmful fats, with the addition of beneficial fatty acids, may offer a significant breakthrough in combating diabetic cardiovascular complications with the potential of significantly lowering health care costs.”
This study concluded that all diabetics should consider GLA or borage oil as dietary supplement and other conditions like hypertension, high cholesterol, skin disorders, allergies, arthritis, degenerative disorders should be studied with GLA or borage oil supplements.
Borage Oil Or Gamma Linolenic Acid In Menstrual Pain Or PMS:
Renowned nutritionist Ann Louise Gittleman has written in his book “Super Nutrition For Menopause” that GLA supplementation greatly relieves painful menstruation.
GLA supplement should be used seven days before menstruation in maintenance or lower dose. The dose should be doubled during the menstruation. This GLA supplement regimen should be assisted by dietary regulations like less intake of meat, eggs and diary products, that is protein and fat should be taken in lesser quantities.
Other General Indications Of Borage Oil:
Some other disorders are said to be supported by borage oil supplements like ARDS or Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Tardive dyskinesia and Osteoporosis, Uremic skin condition in Chronic Renal Failure patients undergoing hemodialysis and Scleroderma.
It should not be used to enhance immunity like adaptogens probably because it is somewhat immunosuppressive.