Evening Primrose Oil

Evening Primrose OilEvening Primrose Oil, EPO, is derived from a plant found in North America. This plant grows yellow flowers that bloom in the evening time, which is how the name of this essential fatty acid came to be.  EPO is found in the seeds of the plant and is approximately 25% essential fatty acids.  This means these oils are essential to our health however our bodies cannot make them.  Raw material manufacturers cold press the seeds of the flower to make the oil and then they encapsulate the raw material into a dietary supplement.   Evening Primrose Oil is an Omega-6 essential fatty acid and is a source of GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) and LA (linoleic acid).

Evening Primrose Acid may help the following:

  • Promote Healthy Joints
  • Support the symptoms of PMS
  • Balance gastrointestinal health
  • Support a healthy cardiovascular system
  • Nourish the skin
  • Protect the integrity of the cell membrane
  • Balance hormones
  • Provide healthy nerve support
  • Improve brain function
  • Support the health of the central nervous system
  • Aid in the absorption of vitamins K, E and D

Here are 6 areas where research has shown EPO may provide healthy results:

1) Hormone Balance

Essential fatty acids are considered to be the building blocks of hormones.  Hormones are required for most every metabolic process in the body.  The essential fatty acids found in EPO reduce inflammatory prostaglandins, support hormone balance and support endocrine disorders like PCOS which can affect menstrual cycle regularity, fertility and ovulation.

Prostaglandin, hormone like chemicals found in the body, production is modulated by Evening Primrose Oil.  Prostaglandins also play a role in water retention, normal blood clotting and even in labor initiation in the birthing process.  Although there are many kinds of prostaglandins they all play a role in the functioning of a healthy body.  EPO helps to maintain and promote healthy prostaglandin levels.

2) Fertility

Evening Primrose Oil has been shown to increase metabolic function and cervical mucus.  These are two key factors needed for healthy menstruation and ovulation.

3) PMS and Women’s Health

Evening Primrose Oil has been shown to support several symptoms associated with PMS like bloating, water retention, mood swings, acne, breast pain and irritability.  Usually these symptoms are related to imbalances in hormone levels and research shows EPO can moderate these symptoms when taken consistently.  EPO can also help support symptoms associated with menopause making it an essential nutrient for women’s health.

4) Healthy Skin

Evening of Primrose Oil which contains GLA is essential for skin health.  GLA has shown benefits in supporting skin issues related to inflammation as well as hormone imbalances.  The skin which is the body’s largest organ, needs the Omega-6 essential acids found in EPO to improve skin elasticity and to optimize cell membrane structure.  Research has found some benefits for individuals suffering from psoriasis, eczema and generalized skin redness and EPO supplementation.

5) Reducing Inflammation

Evening Primrose Oil is often used to promote balance throughout the inflammatory pathways in the body especially in the joints.  It is been use to support the diseases involving chronic inflammation like rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and atopic dermatitis.  Research shows EPO can aid in dealing with symptoms associated with RA.

6) Health Hair

Hair loss common in both men and women is often associated with hormonal changes.  DHT, a male hormone, can cause hair follicles to shrink.  This reduces the hair’s lifespan and actually can actually slow down hair growth.  If DHT is high, which can happen to women with thyroid issues, PCOS and other chronic health issues, hair growth slows.  EPO can aid in stopping this hair loss.





Vitamin D3 Helps Women Build Muscle After Menopause

Significant increases in muscle strength and reductions in body muscle mass losses in women, even 12 years after menopause, were seen in a recent study.

A double blind, placebo controlled study lasting over 9 months found a deficiency in Vitamin D was very common in postmenopausal women throughout the world.  These Vitamin D deficiencies created muscle weakness and a greater tendency for falls that could cause harm. Researchers estimated muscle mass using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and by using handgrip strength tests and chair rising tests.

Women who received the Vitamin D supplements showed a 25.3% increase in muscle strength.  Women who received the placebo lost an average of 6.8% of muscle mass and also were 2 times more likely to fall.

Researchers concluded Vitamin D supplementation alone provided “significant protection against the occurrence of sarcopenia, which is a degenerative loss of skeletal muscle”.




Could Vitamin D Help Women Undergoing Fertility Treatment?

Vitamin D and FertilityA new meta-analysis and review appearing in Human Reproduction found higher Vitamin D levels were associated with better birth rates in women receiving fertility treatment.

11 studies with over 2,700 women undergoing fertility treatment, frozen embryo transfer, in vitro fertilization (IVF), and/or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) were reviewed.  Participants Vitamin D status was measured by means of blood tests.  75 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) was considered to be a sufficient Vitamin D status while 50 nmol/L was considered to be deficient. Vitamin D status between those 2 defined limits was considered as insufficient.

Results showed a high amount of Vitamin D deficiency among the study participants with only 26% of women participating in these studies having sufficient serum Vitamin D levels. Additionally 35% of participants had deficient levels of Vitamin D and 45% had insufficient Vitamin D levels.  Researchers also found that women with adequate Vitamin D levels had a 33% higher likelihood of having a live birth when compared with participants whose Vitamin D status was either insufficient or deficient.  Additionally other conception related outcomes were improved in participants with sufficient Vitamin D levels. Women achieving a positive pregnancy test two weeks after an embryo transfer were 34% higher in women with sufficient Vitamin D status when compared with participants with either insufficient or deficient Vitamin D levels.  In studies measuring the presence of a fetal heart beat at 5 weeks after an embryo transfer (“Clinical Pregnancy”), a 46% improvement in outcome was seen in participants considered to have sufficient Vitamin D levels.

Researchers stressed that although no causal connection could be attributed to Vitamin D and pregnancy outcomes, treating Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency could be essential to women undergoing fertility treatment.  Additionally researchers believe a randomized controlled trial is needed to investigate the benefits of Vitamin D deficiency and fertility treatment outcomes.





Could Curcumin Benefit Gut Diversity and Prevent Post-Menopausal Weight Gain?

Curcumin and Weight GainAccording to a new study on rats, Curcumin may aid in reversing decreases in the diversity of gut bacteria after an ovariectomy (OVX) which may prevent weight gain often seen in post-menopausal women.

The study lasted 12 weeks.  Rats were split into three groups: rats having undergone an ovariectomy and fed distilled water (OVX); a control group of rats who underwent a sham operation (SHAM); rats having undergone an ovariectomy and given Curcumin (CUR).  The OVX group showed reduced gut bacterial diversity when compared with the SHAM group.  The CUR group however, displayed significantly different amounts of seven bacterial strains when compared with the OVX group.  Rats in the OVX group also showed a significant weight gain when compared to the control group (SHAM).  The CUR Group however, did not experience this weight gain.  No estrogenic effects were seen in the group supplementing with the Curcumin (CUR) since it did not prevent reductions in serum estradiol levels or uterine weight loss.

OVX rats showed a higher ratio of phyla Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes in the gut when compared with the control group.  These specific bacterial strains have been observed to lead to overweight rats and have also been associated with obesity in humans.  An additional benefit of Curcumin supplementation was a reduction in the bacteria Anaerotruncus, which has been associated with age-related macular degeneration and pre-natal stress.  Researchers also found Curcumin reduced the amount of Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori, the bacteria responsible for certain stomach ulcers.

Curcumin is the phyto nutrient found in turmeric.  It is a powerful antioxidant and has been show to support cardiovascular health as well as joint health in addition to a host of other promising impactful health promoting mechanisms.





Recent RCT Discovers Vitamin D Deficiency May Double the Risk of Preeclampsia in Pregnant Women

Vitamin D and Pre-EclampsiaA new study finds that gestational hypertension/preeclampsia could be reduced with Vitamin D supplementation therapy.

Over 140 women with a history of preeclampsia participated in this study.  Women with hypertension before their pregnancy, a history of pulmonary, renal or cardiac disease and Vitamin D levels above 25 ng/ml (optimal Vitamin D levels are considered to be between 40 – 60 ng/ml) were excluded from the trial.    Vitamin D levels were taken at baseline.  70 of the participants (the intervention group) received a 50,000 IU Vitamin D supplement every two weeks.  The remaining participants (the control group) received a placebo.  The study lasted until the 36th week of pregnancy.  The control group experienced a 1.94 times increase in the risk of developing preeclampsia when compared to the intervention group.

Preeclampsia is a form of high blood pressure (hypertension) related to pregnancy and is characterized by excess protein in the urine and high blood pressure.  This condition is fairly easy to treat but can be very harmful to both the child and the mother and accounts for approximately 25% of all maternal deaths.  Preeclampsia also increases the risk the baby will be born prematurely or small for their gestational age with increases the risk of infant mortality.




Study Supports Efficacy of Hyaluronic Acid for Wrinkle Reduction

Hyaluronic Acid and Wrinkle ReductionA new study shows supplementing with Hyaluronic Acid for twelve weeks may reduce wrinkles and improves the luster of the skin.

60 adults participated in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.  Participants ranged in age from 22 to 59 years of age and included both men and women.  Individuals were randomly chosen to be in 1 of 3 groups.  The first group received a placebo; the next group received a Hyaluronic Acid (HA) formulation with a molecular weight of 2k.  The last group received an HA supplement with a molecular weight of 300k.  The groups receiving the HA received a dosage of 120 mg daily.

Using three-dimensional analysis of the participants skin, researchers found that the groups supplementing with the HA had a better level of the whole sulcus (groves in the skin) to volume ratio, wrinkle volume ration and wrinkle area ration.  The Hyaluronic Acid group supplementing with the product with the 300k molecular weight also saw significant reductions in wrinkles when compared with the group supplementing with the placebo.

50% of the body’s Hyaluronic Acid is found in the skin.  Breakdowns of collagen and Hyaluronic Acid are believed to be the cause of wrinkles.  Because Hyaluronic Acid effects the skin cells it is noted that daily supplementation with HA can moisturize the skin since the metabolites of HA increase the skin moisture content.




Study Underscores Positive Effect of Vitamin D on Female Fertility

Vitamin D and Female FertilityNew research linking Vitamin D levels to regulation of ovarian hormones shows Vitamin D status may play an essential role in female reproduction and fertility.

49 women, ages 19 through 25, participated in this study.  The criteria for women to participate in this research were as follows:

Participants must have regular menstrual cycles

Participants could not be pregnant

Participants had not breastfed within the past two months

Participants had not supplemented with Vitamin D

Participants had not travelled to the northern hemisphere

Participants had not used a tanning booth or sunbed

Participants were given a Vitamin D supplement or a placebo during the week after their menstrual period began.  Changes in AMH levels (anti-Mullerian hormone levels) were analyzed. The anti-Mullerian hormone is an ovarian regulator however; its function is largely unknown.  Results of the study showed a single dose of oral Vitamin D generated a sharp change in the serum levels of 25(OH)D (the most accurate measure of Vitamin D in the body).  A progressive rise in the participants AMH levels was also seen.  These findings support the theory the Vitamin D has a positive effect on a women’s fertility and may involve the regulation of AMH levels.

Researchers strongly suggest further clinical studies are needed.