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Oil from fish contains eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and
docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); both are omega-3 fatty acids.
1.1 to 2.8 grams of GLA daily
Oils containing the omega-6 fatty acid gamma linolenic acid, such as
borage oil, have been reported to be effective in treating people with
5 grams per day (providing 890 mg per day of
In one study, supplementing with borage oil helped reduce the amount
of weight regained by obese people who had previously shed pounds.
Where to Find It
Borage oil is found primarily in supplements. Its presumed active
ingredient, GLA, can also be found in black currant seed oil and evening
primrose oil supplements. However, it is not known whether the effects
of these three oils in the body are the same.
How to Use It
For the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, the amounts of GLA from
borage oil used in successful double-blind trials were 1.4 to 2.8 grams
daily for at least two months. Although 360 mg of GLA daily from borage
oil has been used to treat people with eczema, controlled research has
not supported its use for this condition. Topically, 0.5 ml of borage
oil may be applied to areas of seborrhea daily for two weeks, and then
three times a week until the condition is stable.
Many people in Western societies may be at least partially
GLA-deficient as a result of aging, glucose intolerance, high dietary
fat intake, and other problems, though the exact incidence of deficiency
remains unknown. People with deficiencies may benefit from supplemental
GLA intake from borage oil, black currant seed oil, or evening primrose
Those with premenstrual syndrome, diabetes, scleroderma, Sjogren’s
syndrome, tardive dyskinesia, eczema, and other skin conditions may have
a metabolic block that interferes with the body’s ability to make GLA.
However, most clinical trials supplementing GLA for these conditions
have used evening primrose oil, and not borage oil.
Borage seeds contain small amounts of liver toxins called
pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA). However, testing has not demonstrated the
presence of these alkaloids in the seed oil. Most commercially available
borage seed oil is, therefore, likely to be PA-free and presents no
risk of PA toxicity. Minor side effects from borage oil use can include
bloating, nausea, indigestion, and headache.
Interactions with Supplements, Foods, &
At the time of writing, there were no well-known interactions with
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