Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Borage seed oil and evening primrose oil may relieve arthritis pain and swelling

New hope may be on the horizon for those suffering the aches and pains of rheumatoid arthritis. A new study has found that gammalinolenic acid significantly improves symptoms of the disease.

Gammalinolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid similar to the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oils, is found in health food stores in preparations of evening primrose oil and borage seed oil, but at less than half the dosage used in the study.

The University of Pennsylvania study followed patients at a hospital rheumatology clinic. They were given capsules providing a daily dose of either 1.4 grams of GLA via borage seed oil, or capsules with cottonseed oil, which has no GLA. Both sets of capsules also contained vitamin E as a preservative for the GLA, not as therapy for the arthritis.

After six months, the group of patients receiving the GLA-rich borage oil had significantly less pain and swelling of affected joints. With one exception, patients receiving the cottonseed oil placebo had no change or showed deterioration in symptoms.

Side effects were minimal, primarily soft stools. That' s consistent with ingesting the oil in the capsules, says the study's researcher.

EN recommends: A hopeful note for arthritis sufferers, but be cautious of double-dosing on health food store preparations. Experts say more studies are needed to determine long-term effects.