Anti-Aging Vitamin Essential: Evening Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil is a fabulous nutrient for your skin (and overall health) that you’ve probably never heard of.

Evening primrose oil comes from the seeds of a flowering plant that grows wild in North America and many other parts of the world. The flower opens at night, hence the name Evening Primrose, and its seeds have oil which has been known to have wonderful healing powers – full of essential fatty acids.

The oil contains a very concentrated essential fatty acid called GLA (gamma-linoleic acid) which the body converts into prostaglandins, a substance that functions like hormones, helping to regulate body processes like cell reproduction. GLA, is actually an omega-6 essential fatty acid.

You’ve probably heard about omega-3 essential fatty acids. The anti-inflammatory and heart-healthy benefits of those fatty acids have led to a spike in the popularity of fish oil supplements. Your body also needs omega-6 fatty acids, but some omega-6 fatty acids cause inflammation. GLA, however, actually appears to decrease inflammation.

Research published in the August 2005 issue of the “International Journal of Cosmetic Science” found several anti-aging benefits associated with evening primrose oil supplements. This study focused on improving biophysical skin parameters, which indicate age-related changes in skin. One group of participants took evening primrose oil and another, a placebo capsule. By 12 weeks, the evening primrose group experienced significant benefits. They had better skin moisture, elasticity and firmness compared with their original skin parameters, as well as decreased skin roughness.

In this study, participants took three 500-milligram softgel capsules twice per day for a total of 1 gram per day. Taking up to 8 grams of evening primrose oil per day is generally acceptable, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, but consult your health care provider about a suitable dosage and how long you should take the supplement. Buy capsules that are standardized to contain at least 8 percent GLA, and store them in the refrigerator to keep them fresh.

Evening Primrose Oil benefits the skin and is extremely helpful in the treatment of many skin ailments including dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and other conditions where dry, scaly skin is a problem.

The treatment of acne and evening primrose oil have been linked together closely for some time. It is now accepted as a major ingredient in many acne preparations. Evening Primrose Oil may even prevent clogged pores.

This healing oil is also used in creams such as skin moisturizers and after-sun care lotions. Because it’s loaded with essential fatty acids, evening primrose oil benefits your skin by helping to soften and rehydrate it even below the surface.
Evening primrose oil has many benefits. It contains several fatty acids and these are palmitic fatty acids, oleic fatty acids, linoleic fatty acids, gamma linoleic fatty acids, alpha linoleic fatty acids, icosanoic fatty acids and acosenoic fatty acids. These components contribute to a variety of skin benefits such as:

• Improves skin texture, offering smooth more supple skin.
• Fine lines and wrinkles become less noticeable.
• Rough skin becomes hydrated.
• Prevents skin inflammation which can cause discoloration and acne.
• Your skin is rejuvenated.
• Promotes elasticity offering a more firm appearance.
• Assists in the production of new skin cells.
• Skin is repaired at a cellular level.
• Lightens dark circles under the eyes.

One of the best benefits of evening primrose oil is inflammation reduction. Inflammation accelerates aging, and often causes age spots, scarring and discoloration.
The GLA levels in the oil also help in the treatment of premenstrual symptoms, as many women that suffer these symptoms have very low GLA levels. Menstrual cramps, mood swings, breast tenderness and endometriosis all respond well to supplements containing this oil.

With more and more women today the words menopause and evening primrose oil go hand in hand. Evening primrose is used in most menopause preparations, the GLA assists in the treatment of many of the symptoms associated with menopause.
Most people don’t experience side effects from evening primrose oil. If you develop an upset stomach, stomach pain or mild diarrhea, you might be taking too much.

Taking evening primrose oil during pregnancy may increase the risk of pregnancy complications. You also shouldn’t take evening primrose oil for two weeks before any surgery. In addition, people at risk of having seizures shouldn’t take evening primrose oil.

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