Borage Oil supplement health benefit and side effects, gla content, medical uses
January 2 2019 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D. index of hundreds of medicinal healing topics

Borage herb (Echium amoenum) is a large annual plant of the Boraginaceae family, which grows in most of Europe and in northern Iran. The borage flower is used as a medicinal herb in France and other countries.

Borage oil may improve skin health in the elderly. Borage oil may also have anti-inflammatory activity. The amount of rosmarinic acid in the leaves is similar compared with sage.

Suppression of leukotriene B4 generation by ex-vivo neutrophils isolated from asthma patients on dietary supplementation with gammalinolenic acid-containing borage oil: possible implication in asthma.
Clin Dev Immunol. 2004.
Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Department of Dermatology, University of California at Davis School of Medicine, Davis
Dietary gammalinolenic acid (GLA), a potent inhibitor of 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX) and suppressor of leukotriene B4 (LTB4), can attenuate the clinical course of rheumatoid arthritics, with negligible side effects. Since Zileuton, also an inhibitor of 5-LOX, attenuates asthma but with an undesirable side effect, we investigated whether dietary GLA would suppress biosynthesis of PMN-LTB4 isolated from asthma patients and attenuate asthma. Twenty-four mild-moderate asthma patients (16-75 years) were randomized to receive either 2.0 g daily GLA (borage oil) or corn oil (placebo) for 12 months. Blood drawn at 3 months intervals was used to prepare sera for fatty acid analysis, PMNs for determining phospholipid fatty acids and for LTB4 generation. Patients were monitored by daily asthma scores, pulmonary function, and exhaled NO. Ingestion of daily GLA (i) increased DGLA (GLA metabolite) in PMN-phospholipids; (ii) increased generation of PMN-15-HETrE (5-LOX metabolite of DGLA). The study demonstrated dietary fatty acid modulation of endogenous inflammatory mediators without side effects and thus warrant further explorations into the roles of GLA at higher doses, leukotrienes and asthma.

DNA protection
PLoS One. 2013. Protective effect of borage seed oil and gamma linolenic acid on DNA: in vivo and in vitro studies. Borago officinalis seed oil has been used as a treatment for various degenerative diseases. Many useful properties of this oil are attributed to its high gamma linolenic acid content (GLA, 18:3 ω-6). The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the safety and suitability of the use of borage seed oil, along with one of its active components, GLA, with respect to DNA integrity, and to establish possible in vivo toxic and in vitro cytotoxic effects.

Efficacy and tolerability of borage oil in adults and children with atopic eczema: randomised, double blind, placebo controlled, parallel group trial.
BMJ. 2003.
To study the efficacy and tolerability of borage oil, which contains a high concentration of gamma linolenic acid, in children and adults with atopic eczema. Our results show gamma linolenic acid is not beneficial in atopic dermatitis.

Skin health
Effect of borage oil consumption on fatty acid metabolism, transepidermal water loss and skin parameters in elderly people.
Arch Gerontol Geriatrics 2000.
Human skin is not able to biosynthesize gamma-linolenic acid (GLA, 18:3omega6) from the precursor linoleic acid (LA), or arachidonic acid (AA) from dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DHGLA). Dietary supplementation with GLA-rich seed oil of borage skips the step of hepatic 6-desaturation of fatty acids (FA) and, therefore, compensates the lack of these essential FA in conditions with impaired activity of delta 6-desaturase. Twenty-nine healthy elderly people received a daily dose of 360 or 720 mg GLA for 2 months, using Borage oil in gelatine capsules (Quintesal 180, manufacturer Galderma Laboratorium GmbH, Freiburg, Germany). The consumption of borage oil induced a statistically significant improvement of cutaneous barrier function in the elderly people, as reflected in a mean decrease of 10% in the transepidermal water loss. Thirty-four percent of the people noted itch before borage oil consumption and 0% afterwards. Dry skin was claimed to be reduced, but no significant alteration of skin hydration was measured. The consumption of borage oil by elderly people lead to alteration of FA metabolism and improved skin function.

Rheumatoid arthritis
Int Immunopharmacol. 2001. Borage oil reduction of rheumatoid arthritis activity may be mediated by increased cAMP that suppresses tumor necrosis factor-alpha.Kast RE1. Recent double blind studies have shown some benefit of borage oil in treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha has been shown to be a central mediator of inflammatory and joint destructive processes in rheumatoid arthritis. In this paper, evidence from published research is reviewed that indicates gamma linolenic acid component of borage oil increases prostaglandin E levels that increase cAMP levels that in turn suppress tumor necrosis factor-alpha synthesis. If this biochemical path of borage oil is correct then concomitant non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use would tend to undermine borage oil effects, and borage oil would be contraindicated in pregnancy given the teratogenic and labor inducing effects of prostaglandin E agonists.

Side effects, safety, toxicity
I have read on many sites that borage oil is completely safe to consume, and on other websites that it contains toxic pyrolizidine alkoloids or something in it. I am confused there is so much information out there and it is all conflicting. Is this a safe supplement?
   As long as excessive dosages are not used, we have not had reports of any safety concerns regarding its consumption.

Side effects, testimonial
Around a year ago I was supplementing with soy lecithin at 4 tablespoons per day, also I was taking borage oil at 3 grams per day. About a month or so after taking these two supplements together I broke out into a extreme painful fever with joint pains in all my joints. The fever lasted about 4 days but my joint inflammation has not improved. My doctor said it has nothing to do with supplements I took. My doctor found I have hla b27 a marker for numerous autoimmune conditions. Recently he diagnosed me with Reiter's syndrome, since I also have extreme prostate inflammation. I am concerned these supplements could have started all of this since ive read high omega 6 diets lead to inflammation and autoimmune conditions. Id just like to know if I took too much omega 6. Borage oil is omega 6 as gla, and I was taking in around10 grams linoleic acid from lecithin.
    A. It is impossible to know for sure whether the borage oil and soy lecithin had anything to do with your symptoms and the inflammation. There is a very, very small possibility they may have made an influence but more likely they did not play a major role.

Review article
Asian Pac J Trop Med. 201. The chemical composition, botanical characteristic and biological activities of Borago officinalis: a review. Borage (Borago officinalis) is an annual herb which is cultivated for medicinal and culinary uses, although it is commercially cultivated for borage seed oil. Borage seed oil is the plant rich in the gamma-linolenic acid (26%-38%) which is used as dietary or food supplement. Other than seed oil it contains a lot of fatty acids such as linoleic acid (35%-38%), oleic acid (16%-20%), palmitic acid (10%-11%), stearic acid (3.5%-4.5%), eicosenoic acid (3.5%-5.5%) and erucic acid (1.5%-3.5%). It is used for the treatment of various diseases such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, heart diseases, arthritis and eczema.

I have a copy of the book " Win the War Within " by Floyd H Chilton PhD. He recommends supplementing with borage oil and GLA. Do you know this book?
   We are not familiar with this book.

Buy Borage oil Mega-GLA product by Source Naturals
Mega-GLA Supplement Facts:
Serving Size 1 softgel
Pure Borage Seed Oil 1.3 gram
Yielding gamma-Linolenic Acid 300 mg (GLA)
Linolenic Acid (LA) 477 mg
Oleic Acid 194 mg
Palmitic Acid 112 mg

Physician Formulas, Borage Oil, 1000 mg, 60 Softgels
Buy Borage Oil - GLA

The borage seed oil is extracted by a special cold press, which leaves no harmful residues and is Hexane-Free.
GLA ( gamma-linolenic acid ) is a fatty acid used by most cells in the body to produce soothing PGE1 prostaglandins. Borage seed oil provides one of the highest yields of GLA in the botanical kingdom (more than twice the GLA yield of evening primrose oil).

Buy Borage Oil GLA and LA

Supplement Facts
Serving Size: 1 Softgel
Servings Per Container: 60 Softgels
  Amount Per Capsule % DV
Calories 10  
Calories from Fat 10  
Total Fat 1 g 2%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g *
Borage Oil
(Borago officinalis)(seed oil)
(Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)190 mg
(Linoleic Acid (LA) 350 mg)
1000 mg
Daily Value or Recommended Daily Intake not established.

Dosage and how much to take
Recommended dosage: Take one to three borage oil Mega-GLA capsule a day or as recommended by your health care provider.

Can borage oil or Mega-GLA product be taken at the same time as fish oils?
    We don't see any reason why borage seed oil extract and fish oils cannot be taken the same day unless your health care provider is treating you for a specific condition where one or the other oil is of more benefit for you.