The Role Of GLA (Gamma-linolenic acid) In Prostate Cancer

July 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer News

GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) is an essential fatty acid (EFA) in the omega-6 family. It is a long-chain polyunsaturated oil with a double bond at the sixth carbon that has its primary source in plants and seeds, the deficiency of which can cause skin problems and certain hormonal imbalances in the system. Even though it is already known as an essential part of health, it cannot be manufactured in the human body, so that it has to be obtained from the food consumed by each person. There are indeed several essential fatty acids, all of which are needed for normal brain function, growth and development, bone health, stimulation of skin and hair growth, regulation of metabolism, and maintenance of reproductive processes.

Unfortunately, there is only a few things about this topic know to man, until the inquisitiveness of research gets to it, and it appears now as though the average American consumes a lot more than 10 times the necessary amount of linoleic acid in his diet and thus tends to have too much of omega-6 fatty acids with respect to the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in their body. Both substances, as it were, are healthy and essential to the sustenance of overall wellbeing, but for optimal health the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the body really should not exceed 4:1. Trust the average American; he does somewhere in the range of 11:1 to 30:1 by his regular eating habits; and it is this imbalance that essentially contributes to the development of long-term diseases like cancer, asthma, arthritis, depression, and increased risk of infection.

So how does this fits in with prostate cancer? Just follow the research results.

Most scientists already believe that omega-3 fatty acids are better than GLA in their use to reduce inflammation and prevent diseases; however the research results have actually been mixed. As such, the gamma-linolenic acid is sometimes prescribed and it appears to have the potential to suppress tumor growth and metastasis, especially in prostate carcinoma patients.

One 1999 publication concluded that it is the combination of fatty acids that makes a difference. Another study that delved specifically into prostate cancer research asserted that GLA worked with an important enzyme in carcinogenesis, EPA, to suppress prostate carcinoma cell proliferation. Eventually, it was authors M. Robbins, K. Ali, R. McCaw, J. Olsen, S. Vartak, and D. Lubaroff who in another 1999 study determined that gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) actually intervened effectively for cytotoxicity in human prostate kind of cancer cells.

So what to do? A close relative of GLA, linoleic acid (LA), is another omega-6 fatty acid, but one that is found in cooking oils and processed foods. LA converts into GLA in the body; is the safest bet, for someone seeking GLA in his body, so- he should eat a diet that has a proper balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, starting from a young age, in order to prevent the development of prostate cancer. And if he already has the disease, he will have to stick with the diet while he continues treatment.

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One Response to “The Role Of GLA (Gamma-linolenic acid) In Prostate Cancer”
  1. Robert Boddington says:

    The addition of the long-chain anti-inflammatory omega-3 lipid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)seems effectively to inhibit the conversion of gamma-linolenic and dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid to arachidonic acid, according to this paper:

    J Nutr. 2000 Aug;130(8):1925-31.

    Addition of eicosapentaenoic acid to gamma-linolenic acid-supplemented diets prevents serum arachidonic acid accumulation in humans.

    This very recent paper reviews the value of dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid in relation to cancer. However, the authors seem not to have been familar with the 2000 J. Nutr. article.

    Lipids Health Dis. 2012 Feb 14

    Multiple roles of dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid against proliferation diseases

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