Tag Archives: nails

The Health Benefits of Evening Primrose Oil

EveningPrimroseOilJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

 

 

Night blooming evening primrose, a North American wildflower, was known to Native Americans and early European settlers as a food and for the medicinal properties of its leaves and roots. Native Americans used the plant to treat bruises, minor wounds, gastrointestinal upsets, sore throats and other ailments. In the 1930’s, scientists discovered the therapeutic powers of the oil harvested from within the plant’s seeds. Evening primrose oil (EPO) contains a high concentration of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential omega-6 fatty acid. While many have an imbalance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, we all need dietary omega-6 essential fatty acids for good health. GLA is a more desirable anti-inflammatory form of omega-6 than linoleic acid (LA), which is found in processed cooking oils. While the body is capable of converting LA to GLA, it can only do so in limited amounts.

GLA is converted by the body to prostaglandins, physiologically active lipid compounds that have diverse hormone-like effects. As chemical messengers, working within the cells where they are synthesized, prostaglandins play a role in numerous bodily functions, including muscle contraction and relaxation, dilation and constriction of blood vessels, blood pressure control, immunity and inflammation modulation. Even though GLA is a necessary nutrient that the body cannot synthesize on its own, dietary sources are limited and include evening primrose oil, black currant seed oil and borage oil. Along with omega-3 essential fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids play a critical role in brain function, normal growth and development, bone health, metabolism, and skin and hair health.

Broad spectrum health benefits of evening primrose oil include:

Eczema – EPO may help alleviate the symptoms of eczema by supplying anti-inflammatory fatty acids that may be missing in those with eczema. Research has shown that those with eczema do not have the normal ability to process fatty acids, resulting in a deficiency. Studies have shown that GLA can help relieve eczema-related inflammation and relieve symptoms such as itching, redness and flaking associated with the condition.

Premenstrual syndrome – PMS may result from an impaired ability to convert linoleic acid to GLA. Science shows that GLA interferes with the production of inflammatory prostaglandins that are released during menstruation, helping to alleviate menstrual cramping and minimizing breast tenderness and carbohydrate cravings. GLA has long been used in Europe to help minimize breast inflammation and promote the absorption of iodine, found in abnormally low levels in women with fibrocystic breasts.

Rheumatoid arthritis – Studies have shown that EPO helps reduce joint pain, swelling and morning stiffness associated with RA. According to a study reported in the Lancet, GLA-rich EPO was found to be effective in controlling inflammatory symptoms of RA in 90% of participants who took EPO for 2 – 4 months.

Acne and rosacea – GLA helps to dilute sebum, the pore clogging oily substance over-secreted in those with acne. GLA helps to reduce symptoms of rosacea by reducing inflammation and producing prostaglandins that stimulate the contraction of blood vessels.

Nails, scalp and hair – GLA’s rich stores of essential fatty acids help to nourish the scalp and strengthen nails for overall health of nails, scalp and hair. Some studies have shown that GLA improves blood flow to the skin, supplying oxygen and nutrients for vibrant, radiant skin.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality brands of evening primrose oil:

OmegaGenics Evening Primrose Oil by Metagenics

OmegaGenics® Evening Primrose Oil by Metagenics – Sourced from pure evening primrose oil, this product supplies 416 mg of omega-6 fatty acids including 50mg of GLA in support of healthy cell membranes and overall health. Gluten free, non-GMO formulation.

 

Evening Primrose Oil, 100% Vegetarian Organic by Health From The Sun

 

Evening Primrose Oil, 100% Vegetarian Organic by Health From The Sun – Each vegan softgel provides 1,000 mg of organic evening primrose seed oil supplying 100 mg of GLA. Non-GMO, vegan formula.

 

Evening Primrose Oil 1300 mg by Ortho Molecular

 

Evening Primrose Oil 1300 mg by Ortho Molecular – This evening primrose seed oil provides 117 mg GLA per capsule in support of healthy skin, cardiovascular function and premenstrual comfort. Gluten and soy free.

 

ProPrimEve by Oakmont Labs

 

ProPrimEve by Oakmont Labs – Each vegan softgel provides 1,000 mg of organic evening primrose seed oil supplying 100 mg of GLA. Non-GMO, vegan formula.

 

 

References:
Evening Primrose Oil. http://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2841007
Evening Primrose Oil. http://wholehealthchicago.com/2009/05/12/evening-primrose-oil/
Prostaglandins.http://chemwiki.ucdavis.edu/Core/Biological_Chemistry/Lipids/Fatty_Acids/Prostaglandins
Evening Primrose Oil (Oenothera Biennis). http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-evening-primrose.html

Are You The Picture of Health?

Are You The Picture Of HealthBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

Glowing skin and healthy hair can improve our appearance and boost our overall self esteem. How we present ourselves to others is of primary importance to many of us.  Healthy skin and hair are powerful indicators of overall health.  Changes in skin and hair conditions can alert us to potential health problems.  Poor diet can affect skin very quickly by causing acne flare ups, inflammation or sallowness.  Diabetes and thyroid disease can contribute to hair loss.  Nutritional deficiency, hormonal imbalances, smoking and sleep deprivation all have negative impacts on skin and hair health.

As part of our largest organ system,  our skin has many functions.  Skin, hair and nails are part of the integumentary system that helps support life.  The skin protects our internal organs from injury, bacteria and viruses.  It regulates body temperature, maintains fluid and electrolyte balance and provides protection from the environment.  Skin allows the sensations of touch, pain and pressure and is instrumental in the production of vitamin D.  Hair protects the head from harmful ultra-violet rays, provides sensors that alert the body to potentially damaging objects and helps to regulate body temperature by serving as a source of heat insulation and cooling.

Basic skin and hair care are part of a healthy lifestyle.  Here are some tips for maintaining healthy skin and hair:

Nutritional Support

Cells and processes that support healthy function depend on a balanced diet.  Proper nutrition is vital for the maintenance of skin health. 

  • Silica helps strengthen connective tissues and is fundamental for skin and hair health.  Food sources include beans, berries, asparagus and rhubarb.
  • Zinc is an important component of skin health acting to control oil production and immune system function.  Foods rich in zinc include oysters, brazil nuts, eggs and ginger.  Oysters contain a high level of protein which promotes hair growth and strength. 
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids are responsible for skin repair, moisture content and flexibility.  Essential fatty acids can be found in cold water fish such as salmon and mackerel, flaxseeds and safflower oil.  Fatty acids are essential for hair growth and production of natural oils that hydrate your hair and scalp.  
  • Selenium is an antioxidant mineral responsible for skin elasticity and prevention of cell damage from free radicals.  Dietary sources of selenium include whole grains, brazil nuts and garlic. 
  • Vitamin C is effective at reducing the free radical damage that affects collagen and elastin which support skin structure. Vitamin C helps keep hair follicles healthy and scalp oils circulating.  Broccoli, peppers, blueberries and dark leafy greens are all good sources of vitamin C.
  • Vitamin D foods such as yogurt are high in pantothenic acid also known as vitamin B5.  Pantothenic acid, often found in hair products, is thought to be helpful for hair loss and dandruff. 
  • Vitamin E  is a powerful antioxidant that protects and repairs cells damaged by sun exposure.  Rich sources of vitamin E include wheat germ, walnuts, spinach, avocados, almonds and tomatoes.  Walnuts also contain biotin and copper which  support hair growth and color.
  • Vitamin A  promotes proper repair and maintenance of the skin and helps protect and produce oils that sustain the scalp.  Foods high in vitamin A are apricots, carrots, sweet potatoes and cantaloupe.

Sun protection

Over a lifetime, too much time spent in the sun advances the aging process, causes wrinkles and age spots and increases the risk of skin cancer. Use sunscreen whenever you go outdoors. Look for shade when the sun’s rays are strongest. Try to avoid prolonged exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Wear clothing that protects your skin such as hats and long sleeved shirts. 

Quit smoking

Smoking damages collagen and elastin, depletes the skin of oxygen and nutrients and contributes to premature aging and wrinkling.  If you desire younger, healthier looking skin, the best thing you can do is stop smoking. 

Stress management

Just as stress can give you stomach upset, it can also impact skin health by causing acne and eczema flare ups and hives.  Skin disorders are impacted by emotions as your body releases stress hormones including cortisol that can increase oil production. 

Soothe your skin

Use warm, not hot, water and limit the amount of time you spend in the shower or bath.  Use mild cleansers as opposed to strong soaps, gently pat your skin dry and apply moisturizers that are appropriate for your skin type.  Consider a moisturizer that contains sunscreen for daily use. 

Exercise

Exercise promotes circulation which helps to keep your skin vibrant and healthy.  Exercise eases stress and helps cleanse your skin from the inside by increasing blood flow that carries oxygen and nutrients to the skin and removes waste products and free radicals.

Following these simple guidelines can help you put your best face forward.   Drink water to hydrate and opt for healthy lifestyle choices that can help you look and feel your best. Vitamins and minerals can nourish the skin helping it appear more youthful. Remember, your skin is the fingerprint of internal health.  When it comes to healthy hair, it’s not just what you put on your tresses that counts, it’s what you put in your body, too.

Here are some helpful products to try:

Hair/Skin/Nails Ultra by Pure Encapsulations provides key building blocks and nutrients to support skin elasticity and hydration, healthy hair, nail strength and thickness. 

Hair, Skin and Nails Plus Formula by Douglas Laboratories supplies beneficial amounts of  vitamins, minerals and other nutrients specially formulated to support healthy hair, skin and nails.

Skin, Nails & Hair by Innate Response Formulas is a whole food product that contains vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and ginger to support skin, nail and hair health.

MSM by Pure Encapsulations contains sulfur,  a key nutrient needed to maintain connective tissue health,  particularly those containing significant amounts of collagen and keratin, such as hair, skin, and nails.