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Evening Primrose Oil (EPO)

Facts on Evening Primrose Oil (EPO)

What are some uses for evening primrose oil?

Evening primrose oil contains large amounts of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and omega-6 fatty acid (found in fish oils).

It is suggested for treating eczema, breast cancer, breast pain (mastalgia), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menopause symptoms, hot flashes, inducing labour, hyperactivity attention-deficit disorder (ADHD), osteoporosis, eczema, depression, endometriosis, stomach pain, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), acne conditions, multiple sclerosis (MS), high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, diabetic neuropathy, Alzheimer's disease, asthma, weight loss/obesity, pre-eclampsia, rosacea, ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Which health condition has scientific research studies to support using EPO?

There are studies to show that EPO helps with eczema, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), hot flashes, diabetic neuropathy and mastalgia. In the UK, EPO is approved for treating mastalgia and eczema.

What are some side effects?

There are very few side effects reported. Those reported include nausea, vomiting, indigestion, headaches, softening of the stool and diarrhea.

In animal studies, this supplement lowered blood pressure. However, this was not seen in studies done in human.

Can you use evening primrose during pregnancy?

There isn't enough studies to show whether taking this supplement during pregnancy would cause problem. Experts have suggested that taking it during pregnancy may be risky as it may delay the membrane from rupturing and slow down or stop the infant from exiting the womb.

Until we get further evidence, it is best to avoid taking it during pregnancy to prevent any risk to the unborn child.

What dosage should I use?

For clarification, typically, 4 grams of EPO contains about 300 to 360 mg of GLA (gamma-linolenic acid).  (That's about a 8 to 10% concentration.)

Dosages use ranges from 2 to 8 grams daily (divided into two or three times daily). For treating breast pain, studies have used 3 grams daily. For use in treating eczema the range is 4 to 8 grams (divided into two or three times daily).

In children aged 1 to 12, dosages of 2 to 4 grams daily (again divided up) has been used.

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Return to FAQ List from Evening Primrose Oil
Revised: January 5, 2010

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