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What is Borage Oil?

People should not consume more than 20-30% of daily calories as fats, but a lack of the dietary essential fatty acids has been shown to cause degenerative disease.

Unfortunately, mass commercial refinement of fats and oils products and foods containing them has effectively eliminated the essential fatty acids from our food chain, contributing to our modern day deficiency.

The strongest concentration of GLA comes in the form of borage seed oil (24%). GLA has been proven to benefit those affected by pre-menstrual syndrome, benign breast disease, eczema, psoriasis, obesity, and vascular disorders.

Individuals who may lack the proper enzyme system would require a GLA supplement in addition to the flax seed oil. Nature's most potent concentration of GLA comes in the form of borage seed oil (24%).

The essential fatty acids combined here have proven to impart a regulatory function on the body's fatty acid metabolism. Fat metabolism is as important, if not more critical, than our body's metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates as evidenced by the drastic rise in fat related degenerative diseases, such as vascular disease and strokes.

Dietary essential fatty acids common to borage seed oil are ultimately converted to prostaglandins, and are important for the regulation of a host of bodily functions including:

inflammation, swelling, & pain
pressure in the eye, joints or blood vessels smooth muscle & autonomic reflexes, gastrointestinal, arterial, ear, heart
water retention
blood clotting ability
allergic response
rheumatoid arthritis
nerve transmission
steroid production & hormone synthesis

Without the essential fatty acids, the building blocks of prostaglandins, a malfunction of fat metabolism is certain, as are problems in the regulation of the bodily functions listed above.

When considering an essential fatty acid supplement and deciding on either flax or borage seed oils, the most sensible solution may be a formulation of the two. The combination of both flax and borage seed oil provides nature's best of the omega-3 fatty acids in flax with the best of omega-6 fatty acids in GLA rich borage oil.

The answer appears not to be no fat, but the right fat, as common to flax and borage seed oils, to achieve optimal health.

Other benefits of Borage Seed GLA include:

1.Vasodilation of blood vessels which can reduce high blood pressure.
2.Reduction of abnormal blood clotting which can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke
3.Enhanced regulation of immune response, specifically a reduction in autoimmune dysfunction, the underlying cause of rheumatoid arthritis.
4.Enhanced defense against abnormal cell proliferation which may prevent and even reverse some cancers.
5.Elimination of common skin disorder such as eczema.
6.Slowing of some aspects of normal aging.

Although the aerial or above ground parts (flowers, leaves, and stems) of borage have been used for centuries to treat many different conditions, very little scientific evidence supports the effectiveness of fresh or dried borage aerial parts as an oral drug for treating any condition. In fact, the aerial parts of borage may contain small quantities of toxic chemicals known as pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which have been associated with causing liver injury when they are consumed in very large amounts. No reports of liver problems have been noted in the parts of the world where borage leaves are eaten occasionally as a vegetable, however.

Oil from the seeds of the borage plant does not contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids. About 20% of borage oil is composed of a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which may help reduce inflammation. Currently, the most promising area of research for borage oil is in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In multiple animal and human studies, taking borage oil or borage oil capsules reduced inflammation, joint damage, and pain from RA. The GLA in borage oil is believed to interrupt the body's production of chemicals that initiate and maintain the inflammatory process of RA.

Earlier stages of research are testing oral doses of borage oil or GLA for the treatment of asthma, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Results from a small study in humans show that taking borage oil orally may prevent or lessen some of the inflammatory processes involved in asthma.

In both animal and human studies, GLA supplementation--taken as borage oil--generally resulted in lower blood pressure. Results for the cholesterol studies were mixed. In some studies, only triglycerides were reduced while other studies showed overall reductions in cholesterol. It is believed that several processes, including the possible relaxation of blood vessel walls, are involved in GLA's potential use for all these conditions. However, more studies are needed before borage oil can be recommended for treating any of them.

Borage oil has also been studied in both oral and topical forms for treating eczema and other skin conditions. A recent study, however, found no effectiveness for oral borage oil capsules as compared to placebo (inactive) capsules in relieving the symptoms of atopic dermatitis, a skin condition that causes intense itching. When it is applied to the skin, borage oil has moisturizing and softening effects, so it is often included in cosmetics such as face cream.

When should I be careful taking it?
-- The GLA in borage oil may increase the production of prostaglandin E by the body. Chemicals made in the body, prostaglandins have a wide variety of effects on blood pressure, glandular secretions, and smooth muscle activity. Prostaglandin E may cause the uterus to tighten, therefore increased levels of it may lead to a miscarriage. Additionally, prostaglandin E may cause birth defects. For both reasons, pregnant women should avoid taking borage oil.

Taking borage oil may "lower the seizure threshold"--meaning that it may make certain individuals more likely to have seizures. Therefore, individuals who have epilepsy, who have ever had a seizure, or who take medications to prevent seizures should avoid taking borage oil.

Although borage oil is essentially free of potentially harmful chemicals, borage plants contain quantities of pyrrolizidine alkaloids that may cause liver damage. Therefore, the aerial parts of borage should not be ingested, especially by individuals who have liver conditions or who drink large amounts of alcohol.

Not enough is known about how borage oil might affect an infant to recommend its use while breastfeeding. It has been included, however, in infant formulas and in total parenteral nutrition (TPN), which is used for individuals who cannot eat normally. These preparations are used with close supervision by medical professionals.

What side effects should I watch for?

--- Major Side Effects
Because they contain small amounts of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, the flowers, leaves, and stems of borage possibly may cause liver damage. Liver damage can take years to develop and it may not have obvious signs or symptoms. A doctor may have to do tests of liver function to diagnose it. A doctor should be notified immediately by individuals who take the aerial parts of borage and experience:

Excessive fatigue:
Extreme widespread itchiness Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea Pain or swelling in the upper right part of the abdomen Yellowing of the skin or the white parts of the eyes Less Severe Side Effects

Taking the aerial parts of borage by mouth may cause constipation.

Taking borage oil may result in belching, bloating, or soft stools. If large doses of borage oil are ingested, oil may leak from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

Barlean's Borage Oil 1000 mg

Renew Life's OilSMART

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