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Gamma-linolenic Acid (GLA)

Atopic eczema. In families with an allergic predisposition (atopy), the conversion of lino-leic acid to GLA is often poor, reducing levels of GLA and its product PGE1.9 Supplementation with GLA (as evening primrose oil) can be beneficial in reducing the intensity of the allergic response as well as the scaling, itching, and skin sensitivity.2,3

Rheumatoid arthritis. Supplementation with GLA enhances PGE1 formation and may reduce inflammation and joint stiffness.1011

Psoriasis. GLA can reduce skin inflammation, redness, and scaling.12

Diabetes. Diabetics have impaired ability to convert linoleic acid to GLA. Supplementation with GLA can be of benefit in reducing hyper-lipidemia and improving motor and sensory nerve function in diabetic neuropathy.13

PMS. GLA may improve symptoms of PMS, including depression and irritability, breast tenderness, and fluid retention.

Hyperactivity. Children with hyperactivity (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) are at higher risk of EFA deficiency and may benefit from GLA supplementation.14

Hyperlipidemia. GLA may reduce plasma total cholesterol.13,15

Omega-3 Fatty Acids (EPA and DHA)

Coronary heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial in the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis. They can reduce the tendency for platelet aggregation, blood clot formation, and cardiac arrhythmia.16,17

High blood pressure. Omega-3 fatty acids can lower blood pressure in hypertension.6

High blood lipids. Omega-3 fatty acids lower levels of triglycerides (and, to a lesser extent, total cholesterol), while increasing HDL cholesterol.16,18

Bronchial asthma. Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce chronic inflammation and the frequency and severity of asthma.19

Diabetes. Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce high levels of triglycerides, reduce blood pressure, and reduce leakage of proteins from small blood vessels. However, in some

Period of tial (mo)

Fig. 3.19: Fish consumption in patients with coronary heart disease. 2000 adults with coronary disease and history of a myocardial infarction were randomized to three groups: one group was told to increase their fiber intake, the second to reduce their intake of saturated fat, the third to eat at least two portions of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids each week. After 2 years the trial was stopped because the group advised to eat fish had a significant 29% reduction in all-cause mortality and a 33% reduction in deaths from heart disease. (Adapted from Burr ML, et al. Lancet. 1989;2:757)

Period of tial (mo)

Fig. 3.19: Fish consumption in patients with coronary heart disease. 2000 adults with coronary disease and history of a myocardial infarction were randomized to three groups: one group was told to increase their fiber intake, the second to reduce their intake of saturated fat, the third to eat at least two portions of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids each week. After 2 years the trial was stopped because the group advised to eat fish had a significant 29% reduction in all-cause mortality and a 33% reduction in deaths from heart disease. (Adapted from Burr ML, et al. Lancet. 1989;2:757)

diabetics, omega-3 fatty acids may also have adverse effects, such as reducing insulin action and increasing blood sugar.

Osteoarthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce pain and ease movement.

Migraine headache. Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce migraine frequency and intensity.

Autoimmune, rheumatic, and inflammatory disorders. In rheumatoid arthritis supplemental omega-3 fatty acids may reduce pain, inflammation, and joint stiffness.20 Other disorders, such as Crohn disease21 and ulcerative colitis22 can also benefit from omega-3 fatty acids.

Skin disorders. Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce skin inflammation, redness, and scaling in patients with psoriasis and/or atopic ec-

zema.23

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