Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Find a Vitamin or Supplement

GAMMA LINOLENIC ACID

Other Names:

Acide Gammalinolénique, Acide Gamma-Linolénique, Ácido Gama Linolénico, AGL, Gamolenic Acid, GLA, Gammalinolenic Acid, Gamma-Linolenic Acid, (Z,Z,Z)-Octadeca-6,9,12-trienoic acid.

GLA (GAMMA LINOLENIC ACID) Overview
GLA (GAMMA LINOLENIC ACID) Uses
GLA (GAMMA LINOLENIC ACID) Side Effects
GLA (GAMMA LINOLENIC ACID) Interactions
GLA (GAMMA LINOLENIC ACID) Dosing
GLA (GAMMA LINOLENIC ACID) Overview Information

Gamma linolenic acid is a fatty substance found in various plant seed oils such as borage oil and evening primrose oil. People use it as medicine.

Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) is used for conditions that affect the skin including systemic sclerosis, psoriasis, and eczema. It is also used for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), polyps in the mouth, high cholesterol and other blood fats, heart disease, metabolic syndrome (Syndrome-X), diabetic nerve pain, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, depression after childbirth, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and hay fever (allergic rhinitis). Some people use it to prevent cancer and to help breast cancer patients respond faster to treatment with the drug tamoxifen.

How does it work?

Gamma linolenic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid, which the body can convert to substances that reduce inflammation and cell growth.

GLA (GAMMA LINOLENIC ACID) Uses & Effectiveness What is this?

Possibly Effective for:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
  • Nerve problems due to diabetes (diabetic neuropathy). Taking gamma linolenic acid for 6 months to 1 year seems to reduce symptoms and prevent nerve damage in people with nerve pain due to type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Gamma linolenic acid seems to work better in people with good blood sugar control.

Possibly Ineffective for:

  • Allergic skin conditions (eczema).
  • High blood pressure.
  • Systemic sclerosis, a condition in which skin hardens.

Insufficient Evidence for:

  • Breast cancer. Developing research suggests that taking gamma linolenic acid seems to improve the response to tamoxifen in people with breast cancer.
  • Oral polyps.
  • High cholesterol and other blood fats (hyperlipidemia).
  • Heart disease.
  • Cancer prevention.
  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Depression.
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Hay fever.
  • Psoriasis.
  • Eczema.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of gamma linolenic acid for these uses.


GLA (GAMMA LINOLENIC ACID) Side Effects & Safety

Gamma linolenic acid appears to be safe for most adults when taken in amounts smaller than 2.8 grams per day for up to a year. It can cause digestive-tract side effects, such as soft stools, diarrhea, belching, and intestinal gas. It can also make blood take longer to clot.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of gamma linolenic acid during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Bleeding disorders: Gamma linolenic acid might slow blood clotting. There is some concern that it might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.

Surgery: Since gamma linolenic acid might slow blood clotting, there is concern that it might increase the risk of extra bleeding during and after surgery. Stop taking gamma linolenic acid at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

GLA (GAMMA LINOLENIC ACID) Interactions What is this?

Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination

  • Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with GAMMA LINOLENIC ACID

    Gamma linolenic acid might slow blood clotting. Taking gamma linolenic acid along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

    Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

  • Phenothiazines interacts with GAMMA LINOLENIC ACID

    Taking gamma linolenic acid with phenothiazines might increase the risk of having a seizure in some people.

    Some phenothiazines include chlorpromazine (Thorazine), fluphenazine (Prolixin), trifluoperazine (Stelazine), thioridazine (Mellaril), and others.


GLA (GAMMA LINOLENIC ACID) Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:

  • For nerve pain due to diabetes: 360 to 480 mg of gamma linolenic acid per day.

See 5 Reviews for this Treatment - OR -

Review this Treatment

Learn about User Reviews and read IMPORTANT information about user generated content

Conditions of Use and Important Information: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2009.

Search for a Vitamin or Supplement

Ex. Ginseng, Vitamin C, Depression

Today on WebMD

Woman taking a vitamin or supplement
Article
Man taking a vitamin or supplement
Article
 
clams
Quiz
Woman in sun
Slideshow
 
Flaxseed added fiber
Video
!!69X75_Vitamins_Supplements.jpg
Evaluator
 
Woman sleeping
Article
Woman staring into space with coffee
Article
 
Related Newsletters

Stay Informed with the latest must-read information delivered right to your inbox.

IMPORTANT: About This Section and Other User-Generated Content on WebMD

The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, reviews, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. User-generated content areas are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatment or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD User-generated content as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.