The Bountiful Benefits of Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)
Long before European settlers had permeated the New World, Native American tribes had already uncovered the powerful secrets behind Gamma Linolenic Acid, or GLA.
Of course, that’s not what they called it at the time, but tribes were cultivating one of the earliest known sources, evening primrose, and processing it into powerful medicine to alleviate swelling and inflammation.
It didn’t take very long for settlers to learn about the plant and its powers, and by the 1600’s they were exporting the plant back across the Pond. In Europe, it was highly prized and became a popular folk medicine that was eventually dubbed the “King’s Cure All.”
As scientific knowledge advanced, GLA was identified as an Omega-6 fatty acid and it was learned that it could be found in a number of natural sources beyond evening primrose oil. Black currant, borage, fungal and hemp seed oil are just a few of them. It is also found in oat, barley, spirulina and the much maligned Dorian fruit.
But sources of Gamma Linolenic Acid aren’t the only things that are bountiful. The fatty acid’s benefits offer a wealth of health and wellness properties that make GLA just as prized today as it was when it was first introduced to the European continent so long ago.
Benefits Backed by Science
With a nickname like the King’s Cure All, it’s important to understand that while GLA has been hailed as a miracle cure, it’s important to separate the truth from the myths.
First, we’ll dig into the scientifically proven benefits and applications of Gamma Linolenic Acid. Then, we’ll explore some of the traditional and folk applications of the fatty acid.
GLA and the Fight Against Dry Eyes
Gamma Linolenic Acid can be a great ally in the fight against chronically dry eyes.
In a study release in 2013, GLA was combined with Omega-3 fatty acids in an effort to provide scientific proof that the active components could be a powerful weapon in the fight against chronic dry eye in 38 postmenopausal test subjects.
The study lasted for six months and in the end, when compared to those who were taking a placebo, subjects reported both a decrease in eye irritation and smoother corneas.
If you suffer from chronic dry eyes or spend a lot of time glued to your computer screen, our Vision and Sport Sparkle may just be the secret to long-lasting relief. Packed with GLA-rich black currant and CoQ10, not only will Vision Sparkle ease your dry eyes, it also has the added benefits of improving your concentration and amping up your body’s ability to heal and recuperate after exercise. If you have a hard time taking supplements in pill form, Vision Sparkle is also available as a delicious black currant beverage.
For the more than 35 million Americans suffering from eczema, some relief may be found by adding GLA to their diet, either via natural foods or supplementation. In a study released in 2006 in the publication Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, those obtaining GLA through evening primrose oil reported relief from a number of the symptoms associated with the disease, including: itching, redness, swelling and the “crustiness” and sloughing of skin. It should be noted that in this study, evening primrose oil far surpassed the efficacy of other GLA sources, namely borage oil.
Since the power of GLA was originally discovered by the Native Americans and deployed against swelling and inflammation, it should come as no surprise that today, it is showing some promising results in the quest for relief from both the swelling and tenderness in RA sufferers. The first study to show proof of these claims was released back in the year 2000, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. While the majority of these results were found in studies on animals, further studies should unlock additional information based on human trials.
GLA as a Tumor Treatment
Let us be clear – GLA will NOT “cure” cancer. However, with that said, there has been some very promising animal research that has scientifically shown that gamma linolenic acid can not only slow the growth of some tumors, but can also increase the power of some existing anti-cancer drugs and medications.
Diabetic Nerve Damage
For sufferers of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, nerve damage is a very real concern. One that can be quite painful. That’s one reason many sufferers are turning to GLA for aid. Studies have shown that regular dosing for the long term (6-12 months) can not only reduce symptoms of but can actually prevent nerve damage. Results seem to be better for diabetics who already have their blood sugar under control. It’s also worth noting that while most people can obtain their daily requirements for GLA through their diet, diabetics may have to rely on supplements to maintain normal, healthy levels.
If diabetes runs in your family but you haven’t yet developed the disease, get the protection you need from Eco Biota.
Benefits Backed by Tradition
Although there is a lot of increased scientific exploration into the powers and properties of GLA, these studies are still in their relative infancy. Because of this, it’s important to recognize the traditional and folk applications of Gamma Linolenic Acid that still continue to this day.
While the jury is still out (or the results are inconclusive) for the following benefits believed to be gained from adding to the menu or the medicine cabinet, knowing what we do about the proven benefits and applications of GLA, they are worth mentioning.
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Back pain
- High blood pressure
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Heart disease
- Hay fever
- Lowering cholesterol
As our understanding and study of GLA increases, perhaps this list will, too.
If you haven’t yet tried our Vision Smart Supreme, you’re missing out on a supplement packed with powerful Black Currant that has helped protect our clients from the ravages of glaucoma, cataracts, watery eyes, dry eyes, photophobia, “floaters”, eye fatigue and even macular degeneration. There’s even a version for kids who spend too much time glued to games, tablets and devices. After all, it’s never too early to protect your vision!
If you are as concerned about your overall health as you are your vision, there’s no better source of powerful GLA than our Blackcurrant GLA. With the purest ingredients in the highest concentrations available on the market, you’ll enjoy all of these benefits and more – including fuller, more lustrous hair and even weight loss!
Know the Risks – Not Just the Rewards
As promising as the benefits of GLA are, it’s important to understand that like all things, there are potential risks and side effects you should be aware of.
Most of the potential side effects are fairly minimal, and include constipation, nausea and general upset stomach. GLA supplementing is also not recommended for those who suffer from seizure disorders. For long-term users, there are also some indications that prolonged use can lead to immune system suppression and an increased risk of developing a blood clot.
Pregnant women, mothers who are nursing, children and those with other existing medical conditions should always consult with their physician before supplementing with GLA (or any other supplements, for that matter.)
Finally, if you are already on an existing medication, take the time to find out if there are any potential interactions with GLA, since it has been shown to boost and strengthen the effects of certain drugs.
When it comes to investing in your health, quality matters! After all, if you’re looking for the King’s Cure All, you need ingredients that are fit for a king. Vision Smart products are developed not only using the most superb and pure ingredients, they are backed by cutting edge research, product and merchandising breakthroughs. More importantly, we never settle for second best.
Your eyes are the window to the soul and you shouldn’t trust your vision health to “just anyone” – so turn to the name you can trust. When it comes to black currant, test after test has shown that New Zealand blackcurrants are far superior to any of your super-fruit alternatives. That’s why we source and secure all of ours straight from nowhere else.
If you have additional questions about GLA – especially as it relates to eye health, be sure to contact us.