Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) can play a significant role in combating many inflammatory problems, particularly dermatological diseases.The positive effects are particularly clear in allergic animals.
GLA is used in cosmetics products that claim to restore the skin’s elasticity. It is especially good for dry skin or when excessive sebum is produced (seborrhoea). GLA is an unsaturated fatty acid of the omega 6 family (C18: 3) obtained from linoleic acid. In cats, the conversion of linoleic acid to GLA is a delicate step, because the activity level of the responsible enzyme is very low.
Unsaturated fatty acids such as GLA help the cell membranes (particularly of liver cells, red blood cells and blood vessel walls) maintain their fluidity, which is an essential condition of vital exchanges between cells. GLA supplementation intensifies the production of hormones with well-documented anti-inflammatory effects, type 1 prostaglandins. This production is at the expense of the synthesis of type 2 prostaglandins, which have a pro-inflammatory effect.
The only oils that contain adequate quantities of GLA are borage oil, evening primrose oil and blackcurrant seed oil. Borage oil contains the highest concentration at > 20%.