For those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, the search for ways to ease the symptoms of this chronic inflammatory disease is always ongoing. Recently, borage seed oil has been gaining attention as a possible natural treatment for RA. But what is borage seed oil and how might it be able to help? Let’s take a closer look.
Borage Seed Oil and GLA
Borage seed oil comes from the seeds of the borage plant, which is native to Africa and the Mediterranean. The oil is rich in a compound known as gamma linoleic acid (GLA), which is thought to be responsible for many of its potential health benefits.
The body converts GLA into a type of hormone known as a prostaglandin. Prostaglandins are responsible for controlling inflammation. (1) The body usually releases prostaglandins when tissue becomes damaged, such as through an injury.
But with inflammatory forms of arthritis such as RA, the body remains in a chronic state of inflammation. Some believe that GLA may counteract this by helping to regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation.
The Potential Benefits of Borage Seed Oil for RA
While there is still more research that needs to be done, early studies on the effects of borage seed oil on RA have shown promising results. One study, for example, found that taking borage seed oil supplements for 12 weeks led to a significant reduction in pain and morning stiffness in people with RA (2).
Other studies have found that fatty acid consumption may help improve quality of life and decrease other RA symptoms such as fatigue. (3)
More research is needed to confirm the potential benefits of borage seed oil for RA. However, early studies are promising and suggest that this natural remedy may be worth trying for those looking for relief from their RA symptoms. Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, as they may interact with other medications you are taking or cause unwanted side effects.