Linoleic acid (LA) and GLA (Gamma-Linolenic Acid) are key omega-6 fatty acids for the synthesis of fatty acids required by the vascular, immune and nervous systems. LA is found in sunflower and corn oils, whereas evening primrose and borage oils contain both LA and GLA. Combined data of three clinical trials in MS with LA alone showed reduced relapse rate and severity, and in mildly-affected MS a decrease in long term progression. To produce certain biological effects, LA has to be converted in the body into GLA. Factors such as disease e.g. MS, diet and age reduce LA’s metabolic conversion to GLA. This can be due to inefficient conversion by an enzyme called delta-6 desaturase. In addition, in MS there is evidence of an increased demand for these fatty acids. The disturbed omega-6 fatty acid metabolism in MS can lead to loss of brain selective fatty acids and poor immune-inflammatory control.

One way to overcome these conversion problems is to supplement with oil which contains GLA.

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Rezapour-Firouzi et al (2015) Complement Ther Med 23. 652-657.