Mentioned on Dr. Oz recently in a discussion of long term weight loss in the midsection area, GLA is not an unknown to those in the weight loss arena. But many are unfamiliar with this supplement, which some have touted as the newest miracle weight loss drug. What, exactly, is GLA?
Gamma Linolenic Acid is a fatty substance, most commonly found in evening primrose oil. It is an Omega-6 fatty acid, or EFA. EFA’s are called essential because your body needs them for health but they cannot be manufactured by the body, they must be ingested. They are important for brain development, skin and hair growth and help keep the metabolism working. EFA’s come in Omega-3’s and Omega-6’s and both are vital for good health.
There are several different Omega-6 EFA’s, with the predominance of those being unhealthy as they show a tendency to promote inflammation. GLA appears to work differently, as it reduces inflammation.
How does this relate to weight loss? Studies have thus far been mixed as to its efficacy. A 12 week, double blind study consisting of 100 overweight patients compared the effectiveness of evening primrose oil to a placebo. There was no statistical difference in either group. A second study with a smaller number of individuals, all of whom had a family history of obesity, seemed to show more promising results.
Some believe that GLA increases the metabolic rate, the rate at which your body can burn calories. No study has proven this conclusively, however. GLA is classified as safe for most people, although it can cause diarrhea. It can also slow the clotting of blood, and the use of GLA should be mentioned to your doctor.
Because this supplement has not been proven to be effective, you should proceed with caution. Check with your physician before you use it. We still recommend that you watch your diet and exercise levels carefully to achieve the best results for weight loss.
January 5th, 2012