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Borage Oil

Other name(s):

gamma-linolenic acid, GLA

General description

Borage oil consists primarily of the essential fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid which is necessary for many body functions.

Medically valid uses

Borage oil currently has no documented valid medical uses. 

Unsubstantiated claims

Please note that this section reports on claims that have NOT yet been substantiated through scientific studies.

The GLA from borage oil and other botanical oils may reduce inflammation and be useful with arthritis and reducing allergy symptoms.

Dosing format

Sources differ widely on the recommended dosage for borage oil, partly because of the many conditions it supposedly benefits. Follow packaging instructions for correct dose.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take borage seed oil.

Side effects, toxicity, and interactions

Gamma-linolenic acid is considered relatively safe. Questions have arisen about the toxicity of borage oil. Evening primrose oil seems to be a safer source of GLA.

Both borage oil and evening primrose oil reportedly lower the seizure threshold and should not be taken by individuals requiring anticonvulsant medication. Some omega-6 fatty acids such as GLA may increase or decrease the effects of certain medications. You should check with your doctor before taking borage oil.

Additional information

The combined essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) should make up 1 to 2 percent of the total caloric intake. The recommended ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids is approximately 1:1 or 1:2. Because of the increased use of vegetable oil in the United States, most American diets are closer to 1:20 to 1:30.

Borage oil contains approximately 18 to 26 percent GLA. Other plant oils also contain GLA: Evening primrose contains between 7 to 10 percent, and black currant oil contains 15 to 20 percent.

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