GLA Health Benefits
What is GLA?
Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), the primary active component of SONOVA® GLA safflower oil, is an omega-6 fatty acid found in only a handful of plant-based oils, such as borage, evening primrose, black currant, and now SONOVA® GLA safflower oil. With a long history of use as a supplement, there is clinical evidence that GLA imparts measurable health benefits for pets. SONOVA® GLA safflower oil is now the only FDA approved source of GLA for use in pet food. The FDA completed its review of the food additive petition for SONOVA® GLA safflower oil and concluded the data support the safety and functionality in adult dry food diets.1
About SONOVA® GLA Safflower Oil
SONOVA® GLA safflower oil contains a minimum of 40% GLA, making it a concentrated and cost-effective plant oil source of GLA. SONOVA® GLA safflower is the only FDA approved source of GLA that can be added to pet food formulas as a source of omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs), which are recognized for their nutritional role for proper growth, healthy metabolism, immune system support, and the maintenance of healthy skin and coat.
Formulation and Target Daily Intake
SONOVA® GLA is intended for use as a source of essential fatty acids. The maximum target intake of SONOVA® GLA safflower oil for dogs and cats is 86 mg/kg and 79 mg/kg of body weight per day respectively. This dose provides nearly one-third of the target daily intake of omega-6 essential fatty acids (GLA plus LA) for adult dogs.10
Clinical Benefits of GLA
SONOVA® GLA safflower oil provides a source of omega-6 fatty acids, GLA and linoleic acid (LA). These polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are recognized for their nutritional role in pet care for proper growth, healthy metabolism, immune system support, and the maintenance of healthy skin and coat. While it is an excellent source of GLA, SONOVA® GLA safflower oil has the added benefit of containing LA to help meet AAFCO recommended minimum dietary requirements for a healthy pet.
Numerous clinical studies have clearly demonstrated the value of GLA and EFAs for improvement of skin and coat, and control of pruritus and other dermatological conditions.2,3 The research demonstrates supplementation of a pet’s diet with PUFAs including GLA eliminates the symptoms of atopic dermatitis (AD), restores healthy lipid function and composition in the skin and can reduce the dependence on glucocorticoid medication for long-term pet health. GLA is a naturally occurring metabolite that supports the pet’s inherent immune system, and through continued use minimizes the incidence of AD in dogs and cats.
Clinical efficacy relates to the pronounced and well-studied pathways by which both GLA and EFAs are converted to beneficial anti-inflammatory eicosanoids. Integration of GLA into the pet’s diet not only reduced the symptoms of pruritus and the histamine response, but improvement in pet health was observed within 3 months of supplementation and may actually prevent AD from reoccurring.4,5 In fact, in a blind study, dogs given GLA were able to reduce the total dose of glucocorticoids.4
Due to the positive research results, veterinarians and multiple pet health websites support the addition of GLA to the pet’s diet to improve their coat and treat atopic dermatitis.6-9
1. Food and Drug Administration Federal Register. 2019. “Food Additives Permitted in Feed and Drinking Water of Animals; Gamma Linolenic Acid Safflower Oil.” February 19: 21 CFR Part 573.
2. Bond, R. and Lloyd, D.H., 1994. Double-blind comparison of three concentrated essential fatty acid supplements in the management of canine atopy. Vet. Dermatol. 4(4):185.
3. Miller, W.H., Scott, D.W. and Wellington, J.R., 1993. Effficacy of DVM Derm Caps liquid in the management of allergic and inflammatory dermatoses of the cat. J. Am. Anim. Hosp. Assoc. 29:37.
4. Saevik, Bente K, Kerstin Bergvall, Birgit R Holm, Leena E Saijonmaa-Koulumies, Ake Hedhammar, Stig Larsen, and Flemming Kristensen. 2004. “A randomized, controlled study to evaluate the steroid sparing effect of essential fatty acid supplementation in the treatment of canine atopic dermatitis.” Veterinary Dermatology 15: 137-145.
5. Gueck, Thomas, Anja Seidel, Daniela Baumann, Antje Meister, and Herbert Fuhrmann. 2004. “Alterations of mast cell mediator production and release by gamma-linolenic and docosahexaenoic acid.” Veterinary Dermatology 15: 309-314.
6. Smith, Drs. Foster &. 2017. Omega fatty acids: sources, effects, and therapeutic uses in dogs. August 7. Accessed August 7, 2017. http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?articleid=1063.
7. Kidd, Randy. 2017. Fatty acids for pet skin and haircoat health. 08 07. Accessed 08 07, 2017. www.petmd.com/dog/care/fatty-acids-pet-skin-and-haircoat-health.
8. Hilton, Robert A. 2011. “Essential fatty acid therapy in canine atopic dermatitis and cancer: a brief review.” Dog, cat and horse treatment of allergy, dermatitis, skin and ear disease. March 13. Accessed August 7, 2017. skinvet.org.
9. Silver, Robert J. 2017. “Ultra EFA formula – new higher potency.” VBS Direct Ltd. 08 07. Accessed 08 07, 2017. http://vbsdirect.co.uk/files/UltraEFA_Tech_Report.pdf.
10. National Research Council. 2009. Safety of Dietary Supplements for Horses, Dogs and Cats. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.
11. Walter, R., 1996. Osteochondrosis and nutrition on dogs. Pratique Medicale and Chirugicale de l’animal de Compagnie. 31(1):59-67 Horribin –(1992).
12. Chamberlin, A., & Bauer, J. 2014. Dietary gamma-linolenic acid supports arachidonic acid accretion and associated Δ-5 desaturase activity in feline uterine but not ovarian tissues. Journal of Nutritional Science, 3, E43. doi:10.1017/jns.2014.41