People use gamma linolenic acid (GLA) for conditions such as arthritis, nerve damage due to diabetes, eczema, high blood pressure, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses.
How does it work ?
Uses & Effectiveness ?
Possibly Effective for
Possibly Ineffective for
- Eczema. Most research shows that taking gamma linolenic acid by mouth does not improve itchy or dry skin in people with eczema.
- Scleroderma, a condition in which skin hardens. Taking gamma linolenic acid by mouth does not seem to reduce symptoms of scleroderma.
- Ulcerative colitis. Taking gamma linolenic acid plus eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) plus docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) does not reduce symptoms of ulcerative colitis.
Insufficient Evidence for
- Back pain. Early research shows that taking alpha-lipoic acid plus gamma linolenic acid and going to physical therapy improves back pain intensity better than only going to physical therapy.
- Breast cancer. Early research shows that taking gamma linolenic acid improves the response to tamoxifen in people with breast cancer.
- High blood pressure. Some research shows that taking gamma linolenic acid with eicosapentaenoic acid does not decrease modestly high blood pressure. Other research shows that taking gamma linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid for 6 weeks may decrease diastolic (the bottom number) blood pressure.
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Cancer prevention.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Hay fever.
- Heart disease.
- High cholesterol.
- Oral polyps.
- Other conditions.
Special Precautions and Warnings
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.
Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with GAMMA LINOLENIC ACID (GLA)
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 (GLA)
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.
Be cautious with this combination
- For nerve pain due to diabetes: 360 to 480 mg of gamma linolenic acid per day has been used.
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