Evening primrose oil is rich in fatty acids, especially gamma linolenic acid, commonly known as GLA. The gamma linolenic acid in evening primose is very important since it effects a lot of the enzyme activity in the body. Enzymes are important since they trigger every process that takes place in the body, including the production of prostaglandins.
Prostaglandins are hormone like substances that are responsible for:
- inhibiting cholesterol
- inhibiting inflammation
- lowering blood pressure
- inhibiting platelet aggregation
- regulating estrogen, progestogen, and prolactin in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle
Prostaglandin deficiency or imbalance may result in:
- reproductive problems
- eczema type lesions
- poor wound healing
- problem with the circulatory system,
- poor skin conditions
- many other cellular and enzymatic disorders
Linoleic acid is converted into gamma-linolenic acid, the same substance found in evening primrose oil, and then to dihomogamma-linolenic acid, and then to arachidonic acid. Di-homogamma-linolenic acid and arachidonic acid are present in the cell structures and they are the precursors of prostaglandins.
This process is supposed to work efficiently in the body, but research shows that these factors inhibit the production of GLA:
- consumption of alcohol
- a diet rich in saturated fat
- a diet rich in processed vegetable oils
- a lack of zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B in the diet - these are all necessary for GLA formation
- viral infections, radiation, cancer
This is where evening primrose is valuable. It has been found that the GLA from this oil is more efficient precursor to arachidonic acid than the linolenic acid found in sunflower seed oil.
Studies of evening primrose has found that it may be beneficial for:
- improving the condition of the hair, nails, and skin
- improving certain kinds of eczema
- relieving premenstrual tension
- lowers blood pressure
- enabling insulin to work more effectively
- prevents inflammation and controls arthritis
- reducing the production of cholesterol
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Johanna is an aromatherapist and an independent distributor of Young Living Essential Oils and Nature's Sunshine. She is passionate about educating people about health, essential oils, real food, natural remedies, and nutrition so they make healthier choices in their lives. She also runs Naturally Sports & Wellness together with her husband.
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