JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA. Supplementation with gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) found in borage oil and evening primrose oil reduces the symptoms of chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and atopic dermatitis. It is believed that the transformation of GLA to DGLA (dihomo-gamma- linolenic acid) in the inflammatory cells (white blood cells) helps dampen the inflammatory effects of AA (arachidonic acid). Unfortunately, there is a fly in the ointment. While GLA supplementation results in a decrease in AA in the inflammatory cells, it also causes, somewhat paradoxically, a very significant increase in AA in the blood serum itself. A high blood level of AA is associated with an increased risk of blood clotting and is a potent risk factor for heart disease.
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA. Fish oil supplements containing EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) have an anti-inflammatory effect and may benefit people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. This beneficial effect is significantly reduced when the diet is high in linoleic acid. A seven week controlled experiment involving 30 male volunteers was recently completed in Australia. The participants were given 1.6 gram EPA and 0.32 gram DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) daily. Half the volunteers were kept on a diet high in linoleic acid by using margarine as a spread and polyunsaturated oils for cooking. The other half used butter and olive oil which are low in linoleic acid. The experiment clearly showed that the incorporation of fish oil is enhanced by a diet containing butter and fish oil. Margarine and polyunsaturated oils had an inhibiting effect and should therefore be excluded from the diet in order to obtain maximum benefit from fish oil.
Cleland, Leslie G., et al. Linoleate inhibits EPA incorporation from dietary fish-oil supplements in human subjects. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 55, February 1992, pp. 395-99
ALBANY, NEW YORK. There is considerable evidence that fish oil supplementation can alleviate the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). What is less clear is how much is required and whether fish oils are effective enough to eliminate the need for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Researchers at the Albany Medical College have released the results of a study which throws light on both of these questions.