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Among the numerous oils administered in capsules, the most famous are those of borage, black currant seeds, evening primrose and fish. The first three represent, in descending order, the best sources of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid extremely rare in the diet. Fish oils, on the other hand, are the only ones that provide EPA and DHA, two polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids.
Fatty Acid Supplements: Why?
Supplements of fatty acids, such as those of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc., are recommended in case of insufficient dietary intake, of greater need and / or in the treatment of certain diseases. Fish oils, for example, are almost essential for those who do not like such food.
Oils rich in GLA (see above) are useful in situations where the natural synthesis of this fatty acid decreases, such as aging, stress, abuse of alcohol, sugar and “harmful” fats, deficiency of magnesium and zinc, the intake of corticosteroids (cortisone and derivatives) and some diseases, such as diabetes and liver failure.
All the oils mentioned are also endowed with interesting therapeutic properties, particularly in cardiovascular diseases (excess cholesterol and lipids in the blood, hypertension), rheumatic (arthritis) and dermatological (dry eczema). Premenstrual syndrome, menopausal disorders and childhood hyperactivity are some other issues that can benefit from borage, blackcurrant or evening primrose oils.
Fish oils also counteract memory loss, learning and concentration difficulties and even some forms of depression. To some extent, black currant seed oil exerts the same beneficial effects on our gray matter. In fact, it differs from the other two GLA-rich oils by the content of two omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic and stearidonic).
And this list is far from exhaustive!
In conclusion, two important clarifications:
- There are excellent preparations containing borage and fish oil. This association ensures the body a balanced cocktail of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids;
- The administration of oils rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids involves a greater need for vitamin E and must therefore be associated with the supplementation of the latter, at a dose of at least 100 mg. Vitamin E is also available in capsules.
My name is Kim Jung-hoon and I am a medical student studying at the Yonsei University Faculty of Medicine in South Korea with the ultimate goal in specialization for Molecular Biology and Genetics.