Omega-6 Supplements

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Evening Primrose

During an inflammatory event, mast cells stimulate the production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes from our body's lipid stores (see Role of Inflammation). Depending on diet, these lipid stores can contain varying amounts of Arachidonic Acid (AA), Dihomogamma-linolenic Acid (DGLA) and Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA), each responsible for a different series of downstream prostaglandins and leukotrienes. Studies have shown that the prostaglandins and leukotrienes produced from DGLA are anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic in nature.

The omega-6 fatty acid family includes Linoleic Acid (LA), Gamma-linolenic Acid (GLA), and Arachidonic Acid (AA). And the body converts LA to GLA and then to AA, which is responsible for a host of pro-inflammatory downstream prostaglandins and leukotrienes. Much of the GLA from supplements can be converted to DGLA, however, and DGLA competes with AA in our body's lipid stores and is anti-inflammatory as stated above. Studies suggest that in order to convert the GLA to DGLA, the body must have adequate amounts of certain nutrients including magnesium, zinc,and vitamins C, B3, and B6, or most of the GLA will be converted to AA. This is one reason why many experts feel that the science supporting the use of omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation and prevent inflammatory disease is much stronger than the information regarding use of GLA for these purposes.

Dietary sources of GLA include:

Below are some useful links: