Nutrition – The Origin of Balance Between Type 1 and Type 2 Prostaglandins
The Origin of Balance Between Type 1 and Type 2 Prostaglandins
Gamma-Linolenic Acid or GLA
Dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid or DHLA
Quick transformation : slow transformation
Type 1 prostaglandins: arachidonic acid
Type 2 prostaglandins
On occurrences of skin disorders of allergic origin, it has been noted that the production of type 1 prostaglandins is reduced, probably because the animal is unable to transform linoleic acid into gamma-linolenic acid. On the other hand, the synthesis of type 2 prostaglandins is accelerated, maintaining the symptoms of inflammation: skin redness through dilatation of the superficial vessels, oedema, scratching… Thanks to GLA supplying, this balance can be reversed.
Slowing down the synthesis of arachidonic acid makes it possible to limit the negative effects of its derivatives, type 2 prostaglandins, and of the excessive inflammatory phenomena associated with them.
Therapeutic Uses of Borage Oil
In consequence of the above-mentioned, borage oil is potentially of relevance in all problems with an inflammatory origin. However the beneficial effects of borage oil have been best studied in the field of dermatology. The positive effects are especially clear in dogs or cats particularly susceptible to allergy. In most cases, a few weeks after having started food supplementation, one notes a regression of most symptoms of skin irritation. Only scratching appears more difficult to control. During skin tests, the extend of the reaction toward an allergen is greatly reduced. If one replaces borage oil with olive oil (containing no GLA), one notes no positive effect as regards allergic disorders.
Results are also promising regarding problems linked to an excessive production of sebum by skin (seborrhea). It should be noted that the efficiency of borage oil is further increased when it is used in association with fish oils. For these contain very-long-chain fatty acids acting along the same lines as gamma-linolenic acid: they inhibit the synthesis of arachidonic acid and of its derivatives, responsible for inflammatory symptoms. When certain chronic skin disorders requiring drug treatments occur, the intake of gamma-linolenic acid (via borage oil) generally allows to reduce doses. The risk of side effects to the treatment is therefore limited.
Borage oil is also used in cosmetology: it is incorporated into the products aiming at regenerating the suppleness and elasticity of the skin. It is especially appropriate for skin dryness.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids are not limited to influencing skin and hair condition. They play also a part in many other physiological respects: growth, immunity, reproduction, blood circulation… For instance, they go into the lipoproteins that circulate in the blood. Depending on the type of fatty acids present, these lipoproteins may promote, or on the contrary limit, the risk of fatty deposits on the walls of the large heart vessels. In old rats, it has been noted that gamma-linolenic acid supplementation eased heartbeat problems. Therefore borage oil is of relevance in the prevention of circulatory trouble.
Conclusion: Borage Oil and Food
In young animals, it can be assumed that the synthesis of the indispensable fatty acids from certain precursors works normally. If the intake of essential fatty acids (linoleic acid for dogs, linoleic acid and arachidonic acid for cats) is sufficient, no specific supplementation with other fatty acids is really necessary.
On the other hand, as soon as the animal grows old, or if he presents skin symptoms of an allergic nature, it becomes very relevant to provide gamma-linolenic acid in the diet, to stimulate the deficient metabolism. Its effect will be even more positive if this intake is part of a diversified supply of fatty acids. This balance is obtained by diversifying the sources of fat used: poultry fat, fish oils, soy oil, borage oil…
However one should never disregard the fact that oils which are very rich in unsaturated fatty acids, such as borage oil, are very sensitive to oxidation. Therefore their extraction must be very careful and they must be protected during their transport and their storage. Their incorporation into the food must be accompanied by the enrichment of this food with vitamin E, to fight against the formation of free radicals inside the body.