Evening primrose oil and borage oil
I was a good friend of Dr. David Horrobin from 1971 until his death from cancer early last year. He was an MD and PhD from Magdalen College, Oxford and he was a Fellow of Magdalen College. He formed the medical publication Medical Hypotheses and was Editor-in-Chief.
In about 1974 Horrobin founded Efamol Research Inc. and he established a great market for evening primrose oil. He used the profits from it to do much research on the benefits of gamma linolenic acid, on evening primrose oil and on prostaglandin E1. Evening primrose oil contains 9% gamma linolenic acid. Horrobin spent a lifetime making available information on the vast benefits of gamma linolenic acid. Its benefit in the prevention of the vascular blood clots of heart attacks and strokes was given in brief by A.J. Wills of Syntex Research in The Lancet for September 12, 1984. Gamma linolenic acid is converted in the body to dihomo gamma linolenic acid and then to prostaglandin E1. It is presumed that the great benefit is due to prostaglandin E1. Wills was writing about the benefits of dihomo gamma linolenic acid. It will not inhibit highly beneficial prostacyclin as aspirin will do. It, like magnesium, will induce fibrinolysis, the lysing of blood clots. It is a vasodilator and is the most potent inhibitor known of platelet aggregation or adhesion.
David Perlmutter, MD writing in the Townsend Letter for Doctors in the November 2003 issue on multiple sclerosis, told how helpful is gamma linolenic acid in the treatment of this disease. In other writing he has stressed how beneficial to the brain is gamma linolenic acid in general.
Horrobin in 1990 was so kind as to have sent me his new publication Reviews in Contemporary Pharma-cotherapy–Gamma Linolenic Acid. Marius Press. In this publication is a wealth of the benefits of gamma linolenic acid. In it he tells of growing cancer cells and normal cells together in a culture. In ten days’ time the culture will be all cancer cells and no live normal cells. However if the trial is repeated and just a little gamma linolenic acid is added to the culture, just the opposite will happen. By day ten there will be all normal cells and the cancer cells will all be dead. This has been done with 30 kinds of human cancer cells.
In this publication schizophrenia is discussed. It was said that a vegetarian diet free from animal fats was conducive to a milder form of schizophrenia. If one is not taking aspirin one can make some gamma linolenic acid from linoleic acid which will be in a vegetarian diet. He told of a recent large trial, placebo-controlled, using evening primrose oil where the treated patients did significantly better than the placebo group. Then Horrobin reported on the antiviral effect of evening primrose oil.
Now to get to the subject of evening primrose oil and borage oil. Borage oil has more than twice the amount of gamma linolenic acid and looks attractive from that point of view, however before Horrobin started Efamol Research Inc, he found that gamma linolenic acid in evening primrose oil is converted to prostaglandin E1 at about 15 times the amount that is converted from borage oil. At that time I had asked him about borage oil. He said that borage oil had a triglyceride structure much different from evening primrose oil and this was the reason why so little of borage oil is converted to prostaglandin E1. At the time he said that borage oil is almost worthless to supply prostaglandin E1.
David Perlmutter writing in the Townsend Letter on multiple sclerosis said that one can use either evening primrose oil or borage oil.
I have nothing but words of praise for the magazine published by the Life Extension Foundation but in the Special Winter Edition 2004-2005, they have a big article on the benefits of gamma linolenic acid but they are offering (for sale) borage oil to supply gamma linolenic acid.
I thought it time to write about the thoughts of Dr. Horrobin on evening primrose oil and borage oil to supply gamma linolenic acid and prostaglandin E1. I have not heard of black currant oil to supply gamma linolenic acid. According to Horrobin it is only a little better than borage oil to supply gamma linolenic acid that will be converted to prostaglandin E1.
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