Prostaglandin E1 can also be obtained through conversion of linoleic acid, which is a fatty acid found in many plant sources, especially in seeds and nuts. However, even though linoleic acid is largely available, the conversion into prostaglandin E1 does not always occur automatically, due to factors such as disease, aging, blood sugar problems, too much saturated fats in the diet and certain vitamin deficiencies. Gamma linoleic acid is able to circumvent these problems with conversion of linoleic acid into prostaglandin E1, which is why many experts recommended taking it in form of supplement.
About borage oil
Borage oil is obtained from the seeds of Borago officinalis or borage. This plant has large blue leaves shaped like stars and today it grows in Europe, North Africa and North America as well.
Borage oil, along with black currant seed oil and evening primrose oil, is among the best natural sources of gamma linoleic acid or GLA. GLA is a substance that in the human body gets converted into prostaglandin E1, a hormone-like substance known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Borage oil for dermatitis
Dermatitis is a broad term used to describe a number of skin issues. There are several types of dermatitis, the most common being allergic dermatitis, contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis or eczema. Dermatitis is not dangerous but it can be very frustrating because of its symptoms, such as itching, flaking, dryness and even pain.
Since borage oil is praised for its anti-inflammatory properties, several trials have focused on its effects on atopic dermatitis. In preliminary trials, regular oral intake of borage oil reduced the inflammation, scaling and dryness, as well as itching. However, these results were not confirmed in controlled studies.
On the other hand, it seems that topical use of borage oil for dermatitis is more effective. This was confirmed in studies where the oil was applied to the diaper regions of babies suffering from infantile seborrheic dermatitis.
Borage oil can be obtained in larger drugstores and specialized stores. It is generally considered safe, even though there have been some doubts regarding the toxicity of pyrrolizidine alkaloids found in borage oil. However, it was found that the levels of that substance in borage oil supplements are not sufficient to produce negative side effects. Besides, most commercially sold supplements of borage oil are treated in a way that removes traces of pyrrolizidine alkaloids and it is safe for use, even for children.