Evening Primrose benefits

Evening Primrose benefits

Author -  Vicki Martin, Nutritionist and Naturopath

Naturopath Vicki Martin explains the benefits of Evening Primrose Oil for PMS (premenstrual syndrome) and much more

Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) contains an important fatty acid called Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA). Our bodies convert GLA to a hormone-like substance called prostaglandin E1 (PGE1). PGE1 has anti-inflammatory properties, and may also help to thin blood and dilate blood vessels.

Often thought of as a natural remedy for PMS (premenstrual syndrome) , EPO also has the following benefits:

  • Skin: EPO can help to improve itchy, red or dry skin.
  • Joints: several double-blind studies have investigated EPO’s anti-inflammatory properties in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Some (not all) studies reported that the EPO helped.
  • Cholesterol: some research shows that EPO supports healthy cholesterol levels.
  • Alcohol withdrawal: there is evidence that people with an alcohol addiction may have low GLA levels, and that EPO may help to ease withdrawal from alcohol.
  • GLA blocks: some people (e.g. those with PMS, diabetes, eczema or other skin conditions) have a metabolic block that interferes with their ability to produce GLA. Supplementing with EPO has helped such people.
  • Low GLA levels: many Westerners have low GLA levels. Our bodies normally convert the common fatty acid Linoleic Acid (from nuts, seeds and vegetable oils) into GLA, and then into PGE1. However, many things can interfere with this conversion, including disease, the aging process, blood sugar problems, and too much saturated fat or hydrogenated oils. The conversion process also requires Vitamin C, Magnesium, Zinc and B Vitamins, so low levels of these nutrients can also be a factor. Because EPO increases GLA intake, supplementing may circumvent the conversion problems.