Borage oil is an extract made from the seeds of the Borago officinalis plant. Borage oil is prized for its high gamma linoleic acid (GLA) content. It’s thought that this fatty acid can help reduce inflammation tied to many diseases.
Read on to learn more about the oil’s potential benefits, as well as drawbacks and limitations. Discuss these with your doctor before using it to treat any condition.
What is borage oil?
Borage oil is a vegetable oil extracted from the seeds of borage. This plant is mainly native to the Mediterranean region. It has blue-purple stellate petals (also known as stellate flowers). It is a common local medicinal plant and is also often used. For cooking
Borage oil is rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which can be converted into anti-inflammatory prostaglandins after ingested in the human body. It has anti-inflammatory effects and is used to combat various inflammation-related symptoms.
Among the health ingredients, another common source of linoleic acid (GLA) is Evening primrose oil, but compared with evening primrose oil, borage oil contains a higher concentration of natural GLA, about 20%-30% , Almost twice as much as evening primrose oil, so it is more economical at the same dosage.
Choosing the right form of borage oil depends on what you’re using it for. The essential oil and topical products may work best on skin and hair but are not meant to be taken by mouth. Read the labels.
Oral versions may work better for types of inflammation, including in vascular health.
What are the recommended benefits of borage oil?
Borage oil benefits eczema (atopic dermatitis)
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin inflammatory disease (the main symptoms are scaly rash and itching), the most common in young children (the incidence is 45%, 60% before 6 months, 1 year, and 5 years old, respectively) %, 85%), followed by adults (incidence rate of about 2%-10%).
Atopic refers to a series of diseases related to genetic allergies, so other allergic symptoms such as asthma, hay fever, conjunctivitis, etc. are often combined.
The pathogenic factors of atopic dermatitis are often related to air, temperature, food, pressure, and microorganisms. According to statistics, about 20-40% of young children with atopic dermatitis are diagnosed with food allergies, which are common allergies Foods include milk, peanuts, wheat and eggs
A double-blind controlled study (12-week period, 141 patients with atopic dermatitis) pointed out that taking borage oil (920 mg daily) did not help improve the clinical symptoms of patients (the effect was not better than that of placebo). It will be confirmed by more research in the future. Note 1
*Comment: There is not enough evidence to support that evening primrose oil can significantly help atopic dermatitis, and more research is needed to confirm
Borage oil benefits rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that occurs in all joints of the body. Compared with degenerative osteoarthritis caused by wear and tear, rheumatoid arthritis is mainly caused by inflammation inside the joints (mainly synovium). And cause cartilage or bone erosion, and even joint deformation in severe cases
An early small study (24-week period and 37 patients with rheumatoid arthritis) found that taking borage oil helped to improve the clinical symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, including tender joints and swollen joint scores, by up to 45% And 41%. Note 2
A recent double-blind controlled study (18-week period, 150 patients with rheumatoid arthritis) also found that borage oil and fish oil have similar effects in improving the disease activity score (disease activity score); except In addition, it can also reduce the use of anti-rheumatic drugs and biological agents: tumor necrosis factor antagonists (compared to patients not taking supplements). Note 3
*Conclusion: For rheumatoid arthritis, oral administration of borage oil may bring positive benefits, but limited by the small sample size, more research is still needed for further verification
Borage Oil Benefits in Acne (Pit) Treatment
Acne vulgaris (also known as pimples) is an inflammatory skin disorder that involves hair follicles and sebaceous glands. It is a very common disorder in adolescence, estimated to affect more than 85% of adolescents, and presents clinically as inflammatory papules, pustules, comedones, and sometimes cystic nodules, and scarring in more severe disease.
In addition, acne can have a significant impact on quality of life, self-esteem, and social interaction.
The pathogenesis of acne is multifactorial, including increased sebum production, abnormal keratinization of sebaceous ducts, bacteria such as E. acnes, hormones, skin microbiota, and chronic inflammation.
A randomized, double-blind, controlled trial (10 weeks in 45 participants with mild to moderate acne) found that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids or gamma-linoleic acid (borage oil) significantly reduced Inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne lesions . Note 4
*Conclusion: For mild to moderate acne, oral administration of borage oil may bring positive benefits, but limited by the small number of samples, more research is still needed for further verification.
Borage Oil Benefits Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
Neuropathy, or damage to the peripheral nervous system, is a common and complex disease. It affects more than 2 percent of the general population and about 15 percent of people over the age of 40.
By far the most common cause of neuropathy is diabetes mellitus, with up to 50% of patients developing neuropathy during the course of their disease, most commonly manifested as distal symmetric polyneuropathy, in which patients often have numbness in the extremities , tingling, pain, or weakness.
A double-blind placebo-controlled trial (6 months in 22 patients with distal diabetic polyneuropathy) showed that patients in the gamma-linolenic acid group had significantly lower neuropathy symptom scores, median nerve motor conduction Significant improvements were seen in velocity and compound muscle action potential amplitude, peroneal nerve motor conduction velocity and compound muscle action potential amplitude, median nerve and sural sensory nerve action potential amplitude, and ankle thermal and cold thresholds . Note 5
*Conclusion: For diabetic peripheral neuropathy, gamma-linolenic acid treatment may bring positive benefits to the prevention and treatment, but limited by the small sample size, more research is still needed for further verification.
Borage oil reduces weight regain after weight loss
Due to changes in lifestyle and diet, the straight-line increase in obesity has become one of the major health problems. Obesity not only brings a lot of inconveniences, but also causes fear of various chronic diseases.
According to statistics, currently 30% of the global population is overweight, and nearly half a million people suffering from cancer are related to obesity. Cancers related to obesity include breast cancer, endometrial cancer, colorectal cancer, etc.
A controlled study (1 year, 50 samples) pointed out that borage oil can help reduce weight rebound after weight loss, and the mechanism behind it is related to the balance of the body’s fatty acid metabolism (unbalanced fatty acid metabolism is considered to be one of the causes of obesity) a). Note 7
What are the side effects of borage oil?
Oral borage oil is extremely safe at the recommended dosage, but there are still a few side effects that have been reported, such as nausea, indigestion, gastrointestinal discomfort, rash, belching, diarrhea, etc.
Some products of poor quality and unpurified products may contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Excessive intake may cause liver and kidney damage, and even increase the carcinogenic rate. Therefore, it is recommended to choose reputable or PA-free brands as priority
Safety precautions (taboo)
Do not use for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and patients with liver and kidney dysfunction (the relevant safety is unknown)
There may be anticoagulant effects, so patients with coagulopathy, taking anticoagulants, or two weeks before surgery, please be careful
It may lower the threshold of epileptic seizures, so please be careful in related patients ( Note 6 ), and please avoid taking it together with antiepileptic drugs
Note 1: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23633319/
Note 2: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8214997/
Note 3: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24803948/
Note 4: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24553997/
Note 5: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2159860/
Note 6: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3724443/
Note 7: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17513402/