John W Jones, MD, MPH
Nutritional Consultant, Nutrition Pure and Simple
Ultra Omega-Linic pdf

The Best Omega Blend

Other Sources of GLA



AA - Arachidonic Acid
EFA - Essential Fatty Acids
FA - Fatty Acids
EPA - EicosaPentaEnoic Acid
DHA - DocosaHexaEnoic Acid
GLA - Gamma Linolenic Acid
DGLA - Dihomo Gamma Linolenic Acid
CV - CardioVascular
GI - Gastro Intestinal tract
LA - Linoleic Acid
PGE1 - Prostaglandin

Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA):

the forgotten Essential Fatty Acid (EFA)

 In the past many studies on the health benefits of GLA have been conducted,  showing stunning results for this beneficial nutrient. It has been reported that, in the 1980s GLA was studied more intensively than any other nutrient. A source from the early 1990s referenced close to 100 research papers being published - with many more in progress. The studies showed help for Arthritis, skin problems like eczema, PMS, inflammatory problems, CV disease, and immuno-depression. 


The fatty acid components GLA, EPA and DHA are critically important precursors to prostaglandins. So what the heck are prostaglandins? They are fatty acid compounds with varying hormone-like effects.   Prostaglandins work everywhere in the body at the cellular level. In the body GLA becomes an E1 series prostaglandin - possibly the most important of several hormone-like substances that have been studied.   PGE1 helps inhibit or reduce inflammation, platelet aggregation, thrombosis, cholesterol synthesis, and affects blood vessel tone. It seems to interfere with the formation of abnormal cells. PGE1 may also help lower blood pressure & protect the liver from the effects of alcohol and some drugs. It is involved in insulin secretion, nerve conduction and GI function. We know that the typical Western diet is characterized by excesses, deficiencies and imbalances of all kinds. Just observe the prevalence of heart disease and obesity - plus the fact that degenerative diseases of all kinds (including Alzheimer’s) are on the rise. These dietary imbalances are nowhere more evident than with our fats and fatty acid intakes. 

What then is GLA?

Technically, Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) has the chemical name: C18:3w6. The w6 indicates that it is a member of the Omega 6 family of fatty acids. Linoleic Acid or LA (C18:2w6) is the parent oil, followed by GLA, Dihomo Gamma Linolenic Acid or DGLA (C20:3w6). All fatty acids in this pathway lead to the E1 series of prostaglandins. Arachidonic Acid or AA (C20:4w6) is also an essential Omega 6 fatty acid. It is overly abundant in the typical Western diet, and its prostaglandins, the PG2s, are HIGHLY INFLAMMATORY. The high level of AA supresses the production of GLA prostaglandins. The EFA Flow Chart shows this beautifully.

Did you know?

Aspirin, Motrin and steroids BLOCK ALL prostaglandin production - good and bad ones! The effect of the ‘essential’ fatty acids is to modulate the inflammatory effects of Arachidonic acid without the use of drugs.   Parent Omega 6 oils such as corn, soy, sunflower and safflower, are common in our diets. Their fatty acid chains must be modified by an enzyme called the Delta 6 desaturase in order to become GLA. The problem is that there is no guarantee that this will happen. In fact, if you are very young (perinatal), old (over 40), allergic, diabetic, have a compromised immune system or you are deficient in vitamins and minerals (like zinc), it is likely that this conversion will NOT happen! Preformed GLA is a fatty acid extract from plants.   Common sources are Oil of Evening Primrose (7-14%), Borage oil (20-27%), and Rosehip oil (30-40%). GLA also naturally occurs at high levels in the fatty acid content of Spirulina.  

Problem: these are NOT common in our diets. 

The magic of GLA

Your first clue that GLA is very important is that DGLA is a normal part of mother's milk. It is essential for the brain and retinal development of the human infant. If a new-born is not breast-fed, he or she is not likely to be getting an adequate supply of this essential fatty acid (EFA). Numerous studies indicate that this early life deficiency may lead to future problems, such as skin disorders and allergies. GLA's anti inflammatory effects are most noticeable for their ability to ease the pain of arthritis - any kind of arthritis. For years GLA was recommended by many practitioners for PMS. Others saw great improvement when patients had eczema. 

Did you know?

GLA is more effective if it is used with fish oil - as it is in Dr Jones’ Ultra Omega Linic formula. When GLA (Omega 6) and EPA/DHA (Omega 3) prostaglandin precursors are used together, they work to more effectively counter the inflammatory effects of Arachidonic Acid.   The typical Western diet delivers an excessive amount of AA, little or no GLA, and a scant amount of EPA/DHA - usually in the form of capsules.   

 Most fish oil and krill supplements on the market today are not combined with GLA. 

Did you know?

Some omega formulations include the beneficial Omega 9 fatty acids. Olive oil and macadamia oil are two sources of these monosaturated fats. Beneficial - oh, yes! Essential NO (the body can make omega 9 from other fats). 

Did you know?

Another popular source of Omega 3 fatty acids is flax seed oil. The problem is that, while the oil is beneficial, only about 2% of it converts in the body to the essential EPA and DHA
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 
Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease

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