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Gamma Linolenic Acid

What other names is Gamma Linolenic Acid known by?

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.

What is Gamma Linolenic Acid?

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.

Possibly Effective for...

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Allergic skin conditions (eczema). Some early research suggests that taking gamma linolenic acid by mouth for 4 weeks might improve symptoms in children with allergic skin conditions such as itching and redness. However, combined results from 11 studies show that gamma linolenic acid from borage oil or evening primrose oil does not improve allergic skin conditions.
  • Scleroderma, a condition in which skin hardens. Some research suggests that taking gamma linolenic acid by mouth does not reduce symptoms of scleroderma.
  • Ulcerative colitis. Some research suggests that taking a combination of gamma linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for 12 months does not reduce symptoms of ulcerative colitis.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of gamma linolenic acid for these uses.

How does Gamma Linolenic Acid work?

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

Are there safety concerns?

Gamma linolenic acid is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth in amounts of no more 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: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking gamma linolenic acid if you are pregnant or 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.


The term arthritis refers to stiffness in the joints. See Answer

Are there any interactions with medications?

Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

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.

PhenothiazinesInteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

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.

Dosing considerations for Gamma Linolenic Acid.

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


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

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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Reviewed on 9/17/2019

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