GLA is the precursor for arachadonic acid, dihomogamma linolenic acid (DGLA) and of certain prostaglandins (PGE1) which in turn play important roles in maintaining health.
A number of dietary factors can affect the conversion of LA to GLA. Among others, they include excessive intake of trans fatty acids, common in western diets, which can inhibit enzymatic reactions (delta-6-desaturase activity) that affect the LA to GLA conversion process. Niacin (B3), pyridoxal 5-phosphate (B6), vitamin C and magnesium are cofactors for delta 6-desaturase. Excessive alcohol intake can also interfere, as can zinc deficiency, as zinc is required for the conversion of LA to GLA as well. Additionally, high intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates, diabetic conditions and aging can all negatively affect the conversion of LA to GLA.
PGE1 prostaglandins are vital for maintaining cardiovascular health. They prevent blood platelets from sticking together and help regulate cholesterol production in the liver. They also help the body utilize the glucose regulating hormone insulin and help protect the body against inflammatory immunoresponse conditions. Because PGE1 prostaglandins, so vital for maintaining health, are dependent on adequate GLA for their production, it may be beneficial to provide supplemental GLA to those suspected of having low GLA levels due to an inadequate diet.
For inflammation, hypertension from vasoconstriction, muscle and menstrual cramping, uterine spasms or constriction, skin issues such as eczema, and as a synergist to zinc, vitamin B6, and magnesium
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