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Flaxseed and Borage Oil Supplements Shown to Aid Skin Health

Posted: October 9, 2008

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According to analysis of the oils, flaxseed consisted predominantly of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), but some omega-6 and monounsaturated oleic acid were present. Borage oil consisted predominantly of the omega-6 fatty acids gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and linoleic acid (LA), while oleic acid was also present in relatively high amounts.

After six and 12 weeks of supplementation with flaxseed, an increase in blood levels of ALA was observed, while increases in GLA were recorded in the group receiving borage oil.

Following nicotinate treatment, the researchers noted a significant decrease in reddening of the skin in the flaxseed and borage oil groups of 45% and 35%, respectively, compared to baseline values. No differences were recorded in the placebo group. Moreover, blood flow to the in skin also decreased in the oil groups.

Measurements of water loss from the skin showed that the oil supplements were associated with decreases of about 10% after six weeks, with only the flaxseed oil group showing further decreases at the end of 12 weeks (25%). Also, the roughness and scaling—dry peeling skin—was also decreased significantly after 12 weeks of flaxseed and borage oil supplementation, with no differences in the placebo group.

The researchers did not perform a specific mechanistic study, but suggested various possibilities. These included changes to the membrane and cell structure since fatty acids play a role in cell membrane health. However, no effects were observed for wrinkling, “which results mainly from changes in the molecular structure of extracellular components, and was not affected by any of the treatments,” said the researchers.