Technicals: GLA is designated as 18:3(ω-6). Chemically, GLA is a carboxylic acid with an 18-carbon chain and three cis double bonds; the first double bond is located at the sixth carbon from the omega end. It is also sometimes called gamolenic acid. It is an isomer of alpha-linolenic acid, which is the omega-3 fatty acid found in flax seed. Although there are alpha- and gamma- forms of linolenic acid, there is no beta form. One was once identified but it turned out to be an artifact of the original analytical process, (Gunstone).
The structure of the GLA rich oil is distinct, with GLA being concentrated in the sn-3 position of evening primrose oil and blackcurrant seed oil, the sn-2 position of borage oil and the sn-2 and sn-3 positions of fungal oil (Lawson and Hughes 1988). testing
Sources: GLA is an Omega-6 essential fatty acid. From GLA, the body forms dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA). This is one of the body's three sources of eicosanoids (along with AA and EPA.) DGLA is the precursor of the prostaglandin PGH1, which in turn forms PGE1 and the thromboxane TXA1. PGE1 has a role in regulation of immune system function and is used as the medicine alprostadil. TXA1 modulates the pro-inflammatory properties of the thromboxane TXA2.
GLA is obtained from vegetable oils, such as evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) oil, blackcurrant seed oil, borage oil and hemp seed oil, and from spirulina, a cyanobacteria. Each contains varying amounts of the fatty acid, with borage oil usually being the most heavily concentrated form. All are widely available in pharmacies, health food stores, or online shops.
The body produces GLA from linoleic acid (LA). This reaction is catalized by Δ6-desaturase (D6D), an enzyme which allows the creation of a double bond on the 6th carbon counting from the carboxyl terminus. LA is consumed sufficiently in most diets, from such abundant sources as cooking oils and meats. A lack of GLA can occur when people grow older and their bodies become unable to produce it in sufficient quantities, or due to specific dietary deficiencies.
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