Part two in our series on Fat Flushing supplements.
Since the 1980s, many studies have focused on the power of GLA, or gamma linoleic acid, to serve as a natural aid to weight loss. Found naturally in seed oils, such as borage, evening primrose, and black currant seed oils, GLA is an essential fatty acid, which triggers fat burning instead of fat storage by boosting the metabolism in two ways: First, it fuels the burning of brown adipose tissue, a type of fat commonly dormant in overweight people. Second, it stimulates a metabolic process commonly referred to as the “sodium pump,” helping to use up nearly half of the body’s calories.
In a healthy body, GLA can be synthesized from linoleic acid, which is found in certain oils, grains, and seeds. But because of a number of common dietary and lifestyle factors in today’s society, most of our bodies don’t make that conversion. The main metabolic roadblocks are artificial transfats, sugar, smoking, alcohol, aging, and illnesses such as diabetes. All of these factors affect the body’s ability to convert linoleic acid into GLA and efficiently burn fat.
Luckily, it’s easy to give your body the GLA it needs to become an efficient fat-burning machine. GLA is found naturally in seed oils like borage oil (20-24 percent GLA), evening primrose oil (8-10 percent GLA), and black currant seed oil (about 15 percent GLA). Supplementing with these oils provides GLA in a usable form, so the body can bypass the conversion process and get down to the business of burning excess fat.
Years ago, I used to suggest using primrose oil. Today I’m hesitant because it can sometimes trigger breakthrough bleeding, as it appears to be somewhat estrogenic in some women. Instead, I recommend black currant seed oil because it has the best balance of beneficial ingredients—including omega 3s .
Recommended Usage: The recommended dose of GLA ranges from 300 to 2,000 milligrams per day. I suggest taking two 180 mg dosages of GLA-90—rich in black currant seed oil—for a 360 mg total per day.
Like other fatty acids, GLA is thought to help to elevate levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that contributes to the feeling of fullness. This is perhaps the reason why you will feel satisfied sooner, which puts the breaks on the urge to overindulge.
The benefits of GLA extend beyond weight loss. It also controls PMS symptoms, lowers high blood pressure, wards off rheumatoid arthritis, and may help certain drug-resistant cancers. And, a steady supply of GLA helps skin retain its moisture and stay supple and smooth.
Just the Facts
• Medical studies from around the world make it clear that nearly every area of the body can benefit from GLA supplementation.
• Essential fatty acids, including GLA, were “uncovered” by scientists during the 1980s.
Boost the Benefits
• It may take 3 to 6 weeks before you feel the full effects of GLA supplementation.
• GLA is most effective when taken in two divided daily doses.
• Take GLA with food to enhance its absorption and minimize the likelihood of digestive upset.
• Like other polyunsaturated fats, evening primrose, black currant, and borage oils are easily oxidized and can spoil when exposed to heat, light, and oxygen. Even softgels, which are designed to prevent oxidation, can turn rancid. Store them in a cool, dry place away from light.
• Do not cook with GLA oils. They will break down and become ineffective if exposed to high heat.
• It you take prescription blood thinners, such as warfarin, check with your doctor before taking evening primrose oil. This form of GLA may impair the ability of your blood to clot.
• Rancid GLA products often tend to smell “funny” and are more likely to cause digestive upset.