GLA Safflower Oil

Clinical evidence indicates that certain omega-6 fatty acids, such as gamma linolenic acid (GLA), can deliver measurable therapeutic benefits to people who consume them regularly.

GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid with health benefits that are similar and complementary to the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Among its many benefits, GLA and its metabolic derivatives have been shown to have significant anti-inflammatory effects. Areas where GLA may be beneficial include infant nutrition, atopic eczema, dermatitis, diabetic neuropathy, breast pain, premenstrual syndrome symptoms, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, skin health and general inflammation.

The two main sources of dietary GLA are evening primrose oil and borage oil, containing 10 percent and 20 percent GLA respectively. Because evening primrose and borage plants are difficult to cultivate commercially, these oils are difficult and expensive to produce. As a result, widespread and economical use of GLA and GLA-enriched products is hampered by cost and availability.

Based upon a number of studies, it is estimated that therapeutic GLA levels may range up to 500 mg daily, and research suggests 500 to 2,000 mg of GLA daily may provide pharmacological benefits. Considering that a 500-mg evening primose oil capsule contains only 50mg of GLA, consumption at these levels would require anywhere from 10 to 40 capsules daily. The use of Arcadia's GLA safflower oil, with up to 40 percent GLA, would significantly reduce the daily consumption of capsules.

Both evening primrose and borage are grown as identity-preserved specialty crops. Although yields and qualities of both have been improved through limited breeding programs, production costs could still be multiple times higher than other oilseed crops, such as safflower.

Since many consumers take a number of different vitamins and supplements in addition to GLA, daily consumption and the expense of such a large number of capsules is a significant commitment. High cost and low concentration also make it difficult to incorporate efficacious levels of GLA in nutritional and functional food products.

Our Solution

Through combinations of plant breeding and modern biotechnology, Arcadia's objective is to produce safflower seeds containing oil with as much as 40 percent GLA. This upper concentration represents a potential fourfold increase over evening primrose oil and a twofold increase over borage oil GLA levels. Due to higher concentration levels, Arcadia's GLA oil will be considerably more efficient and cost competitive than current sources, driving increased usage in supplements, nutraceuticals and functional foods.

For more information, please contact Christine Kent at or (323) 871-1454.

The Women’s Essential Fatty Acid

For more than a thousand years, women have used GLA for its anti-inflammatory properties. By correcting fatty acid imbalances, GLA has been clinically proven to reduce PMS symptoms such as bloating and mastaglia (breast pain), control hypertension and cholesterol, boost calcium absorption to increase bone density, and maintain healthy skin. Arcadia’s 40% GLA safflower oil contains 4 times the GLA of evening primrose and twice as much GLA as borage seed oil for maximum health benefits.

Download the Nutraceutical Business and Technology article.