Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is a polyunsaturated fatty acid of the omega-6 group. Like all other essential fatty acids, GLA must be obtained from our diets as our bodies are unable to synthesize it.
GLA has many different roles in the body, including hormone synthesis, reproductive processes, proper growth and development, cognitive function, metabolism regulation, bone health maintenance, and epidermal (skin) moisturization.
The best known sources of GLA are: evening primrose oil; borage seed oil; blackcurrant seed oil; breast milk; hemp seed oil; flax seed oil; olive oil; and spirulina.
Until recently it was thought that we could produce our daily requirements of GLA from linoleic acid (another omega-6 fatty acid). However, new research suggests that factors such as infection, age, elevated alcohol consumption, compromised immunity etc. could interfere with GLA conversion, depleting our supplies. Therefore, it is advisable to consume GLA-rich foods on a daily basis.
After ingestion, GLA is converted by enzymatic reactions into DGLA (dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid), which is then transformed into arachidonic acid (AA). Arachidonic acid is subsequently transformed into eicosanoids (prostaglandins, leukotrienes, thromboxanes). These compounds regulate and control different bodily functions, including vasodilation and vasoconstriction, blood pressure and inflammation.
Eicosanoids can either take the pro-inflammatory or the anti-inflammatory pathway. This is very much dependent upon a high GLA intake and genetics, as well as activity of D5D (delta-5-desaturase) enzyme.
If omega-3 levels are optimum, it is possible to deactivate the DG5 enzyme and thus inhibit the pro-inflammatory pathway. In order to support such levels it is paramount that our omega-6 and omega-3 ratio is 4:1 or lower.
Most arachidonic acid comes from animal sources, which is why vegetarian diets have been shown to support anti-inflammatory protocols due to diminished availability of AA.
The GLA anti-inflammatory pathway benefits the following conditions: weight loss (as long as the GLA comes from cold-pressed oils); depression and schizophrenia; Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD); premenstrual syndrome and menopause symptoms; muscle pain; migraine; hypertension (high blood pressure); blood clots (by inhibiting platelet aggregation); elevated cholesterol levels (without secondary effects); hangovers; osteoporosis; thrombosis; rheumatoid arthritis; diabetic neuropathy; benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH); abnormal cell proliferation; immune disorders; cancer; eye and mouth dryness; brittle nails; acne; eczema; and psoriasis.
Common GLA deficiency signs are: impaired eye-sight; poor scarring; frequent infections; hair loss; hypertension; rheumatism; allergies; Xerosis Cutis (dry skin); eczema;
GLA and the skin connection
Studies have shown that people who suffer from inflammatory cutaneous ailments have low GLA blood serum concentrations. This has led us to incorporate these fatty acids into our formulas as a means of normalizing and supporting the skin’s natural functions.*
At Sophyto, we believe that maximum benefit can only be achieved by using cold-pressed, unrefined and certified organic EFA oils in our formulas. Our premium GLA, derived from certified organic evening primrose oil, can provide relief to the following skin ailments:
- Psoriasis: Reducing inflammation and increasing circulation at dermal level, diminishes itching and irritation.
- Eczema: GLA reduces transepidermal water loss, pruritus scaliness and flakiness; an alternative treatment to corticoids and topical immuno-modulators.
- Xerosis cutis (dry skin): GLA restores and maintains adequate moisture levels.
- Acne: Topical application of GLA breaks down sebum buildup in the pores, preventing them from becoming clogged and reducing impurities.
Topical application of GLA coupled with an omega-rich diet (in adequate ratios) will not only restore homeostasis to our skin but also helps to maintain its resilience and glow.
This rich, yet light formula:
- Contains polyunsaturated fatty Acids (PUFAs), omega-3, omega-6, omega-9, linoleic acid and gamma linolenic acid (GLA) which exert anti-inflammatory properties, beneficial for dry and irritated skin;
- Provides vitamins, powerful antioxidants and minerals for rich, active moisturization;
- Is an ultra-hydrating, light-weight formula that blends quickly into skin without a trace of oiliness leaving a satin finish;
- Is beneficial for inflamed or sensitive skin following: laser resurfacing, microdermabrasion, chemical peels and sunburn;
- Boosts natural moisture retention capacity;
- Enhances skin’s elasticity and integrity;
- Helps reduce the appearance of fine lines, providing additional benefits of temporary lifting and plumping for a brighter, more toned-looking complexion.
The luxurious Omega Daily Moisturizer also serves as a hydrating primer when used before applying mineral or liquid make-up. It doesn’t contain essential oils or essential oil components, which can irritate sensitive skin. And, like all Sophyto products, it has a mildly acidic pH of 5 in line with the skin’s optimum environment, and is free from artificial fragrance, colors, fillers, silicones, sulphates and parabens.
*Always consult a licensed health practitioner if you want to incorporate a GLA supplement into your diet.
Ishtar Magally Mobarak