Essential Fatty Acid Supplements for Great Skin Health
Since individuals with eczema appear to not get enough essential fatty acids (EFAs) or have an imbalance of EFAs in their diet, two of the best food sources for regaining EFA balance are hemp oil and evening primrose oil. Borage oil, and flax seed oil are other great sources of essential fatty acids and have wonderful benefits for skin health.
Evening primrose oil – This oil is special because it has GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) which is an omega-6 fatty acid that our bodies can’t produce so we have to find it from outside sources. Primrose oil contains a high concentration of GLA which helps the cell structure in our bodies, helps to improve the elasticity and inflammation in the skin and supports the function of skin cell production. GLA directly influences the production of prostaglandin 1, and inhibits the androgens that can cause skin lesions. This essential fatty acid can also reduce the symptoms related to dryness, itching, oozing and blister formation. These fatty acids also help with nerve function, joint health, the functions of the immune system and regulating hormones.
Borage oil – Borage oil is also anti-inflammatory like primrose oil and also has high levels of GLA. Borage oil is also known to reduce itchiness and dryness in eczema. The GLA found in borage seed oil helps to support the structure and function of nerve conduction, hormone metabolism, skin-cell proliferation, inflammatory response and blood vessel constriction and relaxation.
- Cool fact: both Evening Primrose Oil and Borage Oil are known to help relive PMS symptoms!
**The brand of evening primrose oil and borage oil that I like is by Barlean’s. Their supplements are organic, cold pressed, unrefined & unfiltered, minimally processed and of high quality.
Hemp seeds – These seeds appear to be one of natures most perfectly balanced source of EFA’s. Hemp seeds contains both EFA’s in the right proportions for long-term use, and also contains GLA’s, being the only seeds with this combination. The antioxidant properties in hemp seeds help protect against the aging process, alleviate dryness and itching and soothes the skin. Hemp seeds do not produce a drug induced “high” because it contains virtually no amounts of the psychoactive element tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). I prefer to eat the seeds instead of consuming the oil because I like to keep my food in the most whole food form as possible, this avoids the step of processing that the oil has. It also keeps the fiber and other nutrients intact that would otherwise be processed out. I like to put hemp seeds in my salads, and in my smoothies. Make sure to get organic, high quality seeds, and if you do use it for the skin, make sure that it is a cold pressed oil and store it in the refrigerator.
Flax seeds (ground) – Flax seeds are super high in anti-inflammatory, plant estrogen and antioxidant properties due to its high lignan content. Flax seeds contain 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods. The omega 3 fatty acids in flax seeds are some of the highest of any plant source, with one tablespoon giving you about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s. These essential fatty acids keep your skin hydrated, protected, smooth and increase your body’s natural oil production. They also are known for increasing the speed at which skin wounds heal. I use the ground up seeds in smoothies or sometimes I bake with it. Make sure to get organic, high quality ground seeds, the light brown or dark brown seeds contain the same nutritional content, so it doesn’t matter which kind you get!
**I like to purchase my primrose, borage, hemp, coconut, and flax seeds (and many other products) from Vitacost. They have a wide array of awesome, organic products for less than most retailers! Have you heard of ebates (this link gives you $10 off an ebates purchase)!? It’s free to sign up and is a rebate website which gives you cash back for all of your purchases with hundreds of different online retailers! Vitacost is one of them! It’s super simple to use and wonderful to get cash back for items that you already buy online!