New GLA source receives FDA acceptance

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Linoleic acid, Fatty acid

A new source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), claimed to be the “most concentrated, convenient and cost-effective source of GLA available,” has received acceptance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowing it to be marketed and sold as an ingredient in dietary supplements.

Sonova 400 High GLA Safflower Oil was developed from safflower seeds through a combination of plant breeding and biotechnology, report Arcadia Biosciences Inc and its partner Bioriginal Food and Science Corp which will exclusively market and sell the supplement.

A spokesman for Bioriginal told “Sonova 400 delivers 400mg of GLA per gram, making it the most concentrated, convenient and cost-effective source of GLA available​.”

GLA supplementation

The two main sources of dietary GLA are evening primrose with 10 percent GLA and borage oils with 20 percent. Sonova has a GLA content of more than 40 percent and provides consumers with the option of taking fewer capsules or smaller capsules to obtain their desired level of GLA supplementation, said the spokesman. The ingredient’s high GLA potency also allows a significant reduction in excess oil calories.

GLA is an important nutritional omega-6 fatty acid with documented health benefits similar to omega-3 fatty acids. “GLA offers dietary support for a wide range of conditions such as atherosclerosis, hypertension, immune disorders, diabetic neuropathy, dry skin and atopic dermatitis, high cholesterol, asthma, arthritis, and weight management with the core of GLA’s health properties revolving around it’s anti-inflammatory control​,” said the spokesman.

GLA also has a long history of use by women for maintaining hormonal balance, offering nutritional support for menstrual and menopausal discomfort and relief from mastalgia (breast pain). Recent research (Schirmer and Phinney, 2007) has also indicated that GLA supplementation may play a key role in maintaining weight loss.


Young, healthy people synthesize GLA from the linoleic acid which is present in many vegetable oils such as safflower, sunflower, peanut and canola that are common in the Western diet, according to the company. But evidence suggests that aging plus multiple dietary and disease conditions may interfere with this bioconversion and reduce body pools of GLA metabolites, such as dihomogamma-linolenic acid (DGLA). This is why GLA is considered a conditional essential dietary fatty acid that may provide health benefits, it said.

Arcadia and Bioriginal expect to have commercial quantities of Sonova available in the first quarter of 2010.

Bioriginal says the supplement market last year reached consumer sales of about $25bn as reported by Nutrition Business Journal.​ Essential fatty acids accounted for nearly $740m of that total.

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