Posted by Larry Hoover on May 31, 2006, at 16:22:55
In reply to Re: Magnesium and sore/tender breasts?, posted by honeybee on May 31, 2006, at 15:04:52
> It's definitely a mystery.
> But, Larry, maybe you can suss out a little more information from this article than I?
I'm sure I can, actually. It's hard to know what you don't get, so lemme say this:
Gamma-linolenic acid and alpha-linolenic acid are both omega-6 fats. They both have three unsaturated positions, but apart form the omega-6 position and one other one, they have the third double bond in different places.
Because they have these bonds in different positions, the stuff the body turns them into (the prostaglandins and leukotrienes and all that) means different things. The bond position reads like Braille to chemosensors that are exposed to them. The position of each bond really matters.
So, GLA goes on to be elongated and desaturated, but it becomes the 20-carbon 4-unsaturated fatty acid called dihomogammalinolenic acid. Don't ask me what the hell that is supposed to mean, but I don't think it has anything to do with sex. The *usual* 20-carbon omega-6 product is called arichadonic acid. It is what all that alpha-linolenic acid that is in vegetable oils turns into. We are eating about 30 times the amount of alpha-linolenic as ever before. It is not good for you. All that ALNA becomes a heap of arichidonic acid.
Arichidonic acid is converted to pro-inflammatory chemicals, such as the prostaglandin eicosanoids type 2 (PGE2).
Dihomogammalinolenic acid is converted into anti-inflammatory chemicals, such as PGE1.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (from fish oil) goes on to form anti-inflammatory chemicals such as PGE3.
By taking enough fish oil to compete with all that alpha-linolenic acid everybody is swamped with, you also inhibit the GLA going to the wrong stuff. It all works good, if you take a source of GLA with your fish oil. Just take the GLA once in a while, not every day.
Now, there are a few good sources of GLA. Borage oil is much higher in GLA than is evening primrose. The thing is, I thing EPO has something extra, quite apart from the GLA, doing some good stuff. A phytoestrogen? A flavonoid? Something we haven't identified, but something good for PMS. Something good, apart from the GLA content, I mean.