Starflower Oil Benefits For Women's Health
Ladies, have you heard about the benefits of starflower oil? No? Well, read on for some interesting information on how this herbal extract can help your health!
What is Starflower Oil?
Also known as borage oil, starflower oil is pressed from the seeds of the Starflower plant and is a rich source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega 6 fatty acid. GLA has several health benefits for both men and women, including heart function, skin appearance and vision. However, it is thanks to its role as a hormone regulator that starflower oil benefits female-specific health conditions such as PMS and menopause.
Unfortunately, in a typical western diet there are very little foods that contain good sources of GLA, meaning many utilise starflower oil to meet their requirements to support good health. The starflower is such a popular choice of supplement as it boasts the highest GLA content of any plant. Albeit in smaller amounts, GLA is also found in evening primrose oil and spirulina which are other popular supplements.
Starflower Oil Benefits
Fluctuating hormone levels manifest themselves in several different ways and can severely interfere with women's daily lives. Many of the symptoms commonly associated with PMS and menopause, such as mood swings, breast tenderness and skin changes, are triggered by these hormone imbalances.
Studies show that GLA helps to balance hormone levels by regulating the production of prostaglandins, which are hormone-like chemical messengers involved in the body's inflammatory processes such as swelling, stiffness and pain. So if you are battling to control symptoms of PMS or menopause, you may find starflower oil to be beneficial.
Essential fatty acids are vital to heart health. Although women are statistically less at danger of heart disease compared to men, women aren't completely free of risk. Did you know that there are still around 40,000 women per year who suffer a heart attack?
A regular intake of essential fatty acids can help to support heart health and improve blood circulation in women and men. It is thought that the anti-inflammatory benefits of GLA help to reduce the risk of heart disease, particularly when paired with an omega 3 supplement and may also help to prevent fatty plaque build-ups along artery walls.
Weight-loss is a goal for many people, as achieving a healthy body mass prevents a plethora of health complications caused by obesity. Unfortunately, the majority of us fail to reach our weight goal or struggle to maintain our good progress. This hardship is primarily caused by upregulated appetite hormones, which increase our attraction to food, especially ones which are highly palatable with high energy content. This inevitably leads to weight regain and the undoing of months of hard work.
A study published a decade ago in the Journal of Nutrition discovered that GLA supplementation can help reduce the amount of weight regained following drastic weight-loss. Although it is unclear as to why, it is thought that the improved hormone balance helps regulate our appetite hormones, keeping our hunger levels in check.
Regulating prostaglandin levels may help to prevent inflammatory skin conditions and regulate the moisture level of the skin. One study found that daily supplementation with starflower oil over a twelve week period significantly reduced skin reddening (by an average of 40%) when compared to a placebo. It also found that participants supplementing with starflower oil lost 10% less water from the skin and had less roughness and scaling.
As women get older, eyesight tends to become an issue, with many people experiencing a downturn in their visual health during later life. One study found that people who supplemented with GLA experienced a decrease in the symptoms of an irritating and uncomfortable condition called Dry Eye.
Several studies have examined the potential benefits of starflower oil for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. One placebo-controlled trial found that daily supplementation with 2800mg of starflower oil over six months reduced joint tenderness and morning stiffness by 54 and 67% respectively when compared to a placebo.
Questions That Are Frequently Asked About Starflower Oil and GLA
- How Much Starflower Oil Should I Take?
To reap the maximum rewards from starflower oil, it is important that you consume the right dosage. For healthy adults, it is recommended that you take 1000mg per day, which would provide 200mg of GLA. For individuals aiming to combat inflammation or manage joint pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis, a daily intake of up to 3000mg is often beneficial. Starflower oil should be taken in two divided doses alongside meals to help absorption. Do not cook with starflower oil as this decreases the availability of the all-important GLA.
- How Long Does It Take to Feel the Effects of Starflower Oil?
It is thought that it takes between 3-6 weeks for starflower oil to exert its maximum benefit.
- What Is the Difference Between Starflower Oil and Borage Oil?
The starflower is also known as the borage plant or Borago officinalis, and the names are used interchangeably. They are the same plant and so contain equally high amounts of GLA.
- Can the Body Make GLA?
Yes, the body can make certain amounts of GLA from linoleic acid (LA). However, this process can be halted due to various situations such as old age, elevated saturated fat intake, and micronutrient deficiency or illnesses such as diabetes, high cholesterol and eczema.
- Are There Side Effects from Starflower Oil Supplementation?
Minor side effects such as flatulence and bloating are infrequently mentioned. No major adverse effects have been reported from starflower oil supplementation in healthy individuals. However, individuals who suffer from bleeding disorders, liver disease or epilepsy should exercise caution with regards to starflower oil.
- Isn't a High Intake of Omega 6 Bad for Health?
It is thought that dietary practices that result in a high omega 6: omega 3 ratio are a contributor to high inflammation levels in the body which can promote the development of a wide range of pathologies. This ratio is primarily caused by a high intake of processed vegetable oils.
However, not all omega 6 fatty acids are created equal. The plant-derived GLA is known for possessing anti-inflammatory properties that have even been thought to protect DNA. GLA is crucial for the conversion to dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA), the precursor to anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. This process explains how a healthy intake of GLA from starflower oil can calm inflammation, helping the normal function of our heart, vision, skin and joints.
For these health-promoting benefits to take place, however, we need adequate intakes of the B vitamins, vitamin C and the essential minerals magnesium and zinc.
It seems that for all-round female health and beauty, a high-quality starflower oil supplement may indeed be a star when it comes to looking after your health.
This product, like all supplements, will work best in conjunction with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. If you are interested in starflower oil supplementation but are unsure about taking it, consult your doctor or pharmacist before use.