GLA and Women's Health
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) most often occuring 7 to 10 days prior to menses. It affects about 1/3 of all pre-menopausal women, who may experience some physical, emotional, or behavioural symptoms include breast pain, severe abdominal cramps, bloating, headache, anxiety, anger and social withdrawal...etc.
GLA and PMS
PMS has been linked to excessive and incorrect prostaglandin (PGE2) production, besides, research suggests that women with PMS have a defect in the ability to make gamma linolenic acid (GLA)1, therefore have a deficiency of prostaglandin (PGE1) production.
Supplementing with GLA raises the body's production of PGE1, which helps by
MenopauseDuring menopause, the ovaries reduce the production of estrogen by 2/3. During this period of hormonal changes, the body's eicosanoid balance gets disturbed, over-producing of the bad eicosanoid PGE2, giving rise to hot flushes, night time sweats, and other discomfort.
Traditionally women have been offered hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to help their bodies adjust to the declining estrogen levels, however, while HRT is effective for relieving menopausal symptoms, there are also many known potential health risks and uncertainties resulting from long term use.
GLA and Menopause
Supplementation with GLA has been found to relieve symptoms of perimenopause and menopause including nighttime flushes, mastalgia, inflammation, fluid retention, depression and irritability.
GLA and OsteoporosisDeficiency in essential fatty acids (including GLA and EPA) can lead to severe bone loss and osteoporosis.
Studies have shown that supplements of GLA and EPA together help maintain or increase bone mass.
They have been shown to increase calcium absorption from the gut, reduce urinary excretion of calcium, increase calcium that is deposited in the bone and improve the strength of bone.4
1. Brush MG et al. Abnormal essential fatty acid levels in plasma of women with premenstrual syndrome. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1984; 150: 363-366.
2. Horrobin DF et al. The effects of Gamma Linolenic Acid on breast pain and diabetic neuropathy: possible non-eicosanoid mechanisms. Prostaglandins Leukotr Essent Fatty Acids 1993; 48: 101-104.
3. Horrobin DF et al. The role of essential fatty acids and prostaglandins in the premenstrual syndrome. J Reprod Med 1983; 28: 465-468.
4. Horrobin K et al. Calcium metabolism, osteoporosis and essential fatty acids: a review Prog Lipid Res 1997; 36 (2-3): 131-151.