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Preventing Heart Disease With Evening Primrose

By: Corinna Underwood - Updated: 25 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Evening Primrose Heart Disease Linolenic

The evening primrose was originally a native of North America. It was later introduced to Italy and now can be found throughout Europe. It is popular in English country gardens.

Evening Primrose and Heart Disease

Research has already shown that evening primrose is a valuable dietary supplement in the prevention of heart disease, hardening of the arteries and high blood pressure, but what are its healing properties and how do they work?

Fatty acids

Within our bodies, essential fatty acids (EFAs) play a vital role in our health. They provide energy, maintain body temperature, cushion and protect body tissues and insulate our nerves. Two very important polyunsaturated fatty acids are Linoleic acid and Gamma-Linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is not produced within the body but is obtained from our daily food intake. It acts as an energy source that the body converts into Gamma-Linoleic acid which forms prostaglandins. These hormone-like substances play a crucial role in the overall body maintenance but need to be replenished regularly, and they are destroyed after having served their purpose. This purpose includes regulating blood pressure, preventing blood clotting, regulating brain function and stimulating the immune system. Research trials in Europe, have also shown that they are effective in preventing arthritis.

Our Western diets often include too much saturated fat and cholesterol, processed vegetable oils, and alcohol, all of these inhibit the normal conversion processes of EFAs by causing blockages. These blockages become even more dramatic with age, low thyroid function, slower metabolism, infections, disease, and dietary considerations such as zinc deficiency

Gamma-Linolenic Acid

Evening Primrose Oil is a natural, and the richest, source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). It contains about 72% Linoleic acid and 9 percent GLA. Since it contains the essential GLA, evening primrose oil is highly valuable to those who cannot otherwise form enough GLA. This would include those who do not get enough essential fatty acids in their diet, drink or have drunk excessive amounts of alcohol, have low thyroid function, or have received radiation treatment. The direct source of GLA takes the pressure off the body to produce the necessary amount of GLA for optimum health. You can purchase evening primrose either as oil or in capsule form from your local health shop. Capsules are easier to take and should be stored away from sunlight or even in the refrigerator to prevent the oil from becoming rancid.

Cautions;

  • It should not be taken during pregnancy
  • Evening primrose may interact adversely with some medicines prescribed for schizophrenia, causing epileptic seizures.
  • Because evening primrose promotes the production of estrogen, women suffering from breast cancer that is estrogen related should avoid or limit their intake of primrose oil. Black current seed oil is a good substitute.

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