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Does GLA cause weight loss?
Saturday, April 17, 2004 3:36 pm Email this article
Probably not. Here's why. GLA (gamma linolenic acid) is the first metabolite produced from the essential omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid. In genetically obese rats GLA has been shown to reduce food intake, weight gain and percent body fat. However, these rats have an extreme form of fatty acid metabolism disturbance. Their livers become depleted of arachidonic acid. GLA works because arachidonic acid is made from GLA. In lean rats GLA has no effect.
It also has no effect on genetically obese mice (who don’t have this extreme form of disturbed fatty acid metabolism).
Obesity researcher Stephen Phinney, MD, PhD concluded that “[GLA]... is unlikely to be effective in humans.”
He goes on to say that GLA’s effect of increasing arachidonic acid might also cause harm by increasing inflammation or clot formation. It doesn’t look like GLA is the answer.
Phinney SD. Abnormal arachidonic acid metabolism in obesity. In Obesity: New Directions in Assessment and Management. VanItallie TB, Simopoulos AP (Editors). The Charles Press, Philadelphia, 1995, pp 82-95.
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