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Flax and Borage Oils May Improve Skin Health

A new study printed in the September 2008 edition of The British Journal of Nutrition found that flax and borage oils may improve and protect your skin.

The study included 45 non-smoking, healthy women between the ages of 18 and 65. The women were randomly divided into three groups and assigned either 2g of flaxseed oil, 2g of borage oil or a placebo for 12 weeks.

At the end of the study period, a niacin based irritant called nicotinate was applied to the skin of the women to induce reddening and inflammation. The researchers found a 45 percent decrease in reddening of the skin in the flax oil group and a 35 percent decrease in the borage oil group. There was no difference in the placebo group.

The researchers also measured water loss in the skin and found that after 6 weeks the borage oil group had a 10 percent decrease in water loss while the flax oil group had a 25 percent decrease. This decrease in water loss is important because if your skin does not have at least 10% water it will become rough and begin to shrivel and crack.

Although this study did not highlight the mechanism behind these benefits, researchers note that the results may be linked to the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in flax and borage oil.

Flax oil contains high levels of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) while borage oil contains omega-6 fatty acids gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), linoleic acid (LA), as well as relatively high levels of oleic acid.

Omega-3 fatty acids have also been associated with several other health benefits like improved heart health and cognitive function, decrease cancer risk, and better eye health. The easiest way to get more of these essential fatty acids in your diet is by taking a quality nutritional supplement that's high in EPA and DHA and certified for purity.
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