GLA, EPA, and DHA mixture decreases LDL cholesterol.




Am J Clin Nutr

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In the late 1970s, scientists learned that the native Inuits in Greenland, who consumed a diet very high in omega-3 fatty acids, had surprisingly low rates of heart attacks. Since that time thousands of scientific studies have evaluated the multiple ways that omega-3 fatty acids promotes not only cardiovascular health, but also the healthy functioning of many other biological activities. Many Americans don't get enough of it in their diets. One reason is that omega-3 oils are very susceptible to spoilage and so many food manufacturers remove it to keep products fresh. Another reason is that omega-3 oils mostly come from cold water fish and wild game— something most Americans don't eat in great quantities.

Omega-3 refers to a group or "family" of unsaturated fatty acids. The first fatty acid in this group is named alpha linolenic acid or just linolenic acid, and sometimes it is just called omega-3. Linolenic acid cannot be made in the body and therefore, it is classified as an essential fatty acid and must be obtained from either the diet or in supplement form. The other two fatty acids in the omega-3 family are named eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The body can manufacture EPA and DHA by conversions from linolenic acid.

A recent study stated that there is little information on the effects of DHA and EPA combined with the anti-inflammatory effects of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) on fatty acids compositions. This study selected 31 women for a 28-day investigation. Plasma lipids and fatty acids of these women were measured at baseline and on the 28th day. Each woman was put into one of four groups: the EPA/DHA group, EPA/DHA plus 1 gram of GLA, EPA/DHA plus 2 grams of GLA, or EPA/DHA plus 4 grams of GLA. Although omega-3 fatty acids levels increased in all four groups, the EPA/DHA plus 2 grams of GLA group saw the most beneficial activity. LDL cholesterol was lower in this group by 11.3% on average, which, using the calculation tool PROCRAM, estimated a 43% risk reduction for myocardial infarction.1


1. Laidlaw, M. Effects of supplementation with fish oil–derived n-3 fatty acids and -linolenic acid on circulating plasma lipids and fatty acid profiles in women. Am J Clin Nutr. Jan 2003;77(1):37-42.