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Seedy remedy for rheumatoid arthritis?

A fatty acid extracted from certain plant seeds may help ease symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder characterized by inflamed and painful joints.

Researchers know that certain fatty acids combat inflammation. Rheumatologist Lawrence J. Leventhal of the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia' and his colleagues focused on gammalinolenic acid, a fatty acid found in oil extracted from the seeds of the evening primrose or borage plants.

In a six-month double-blind trial, the researchers gave capsules containing gammalinolenic acid to 19 people with rheumatoid arthritis. Eighteen others with the disease, randomly assigned to a control group, received placebo capsules.

"We saw that patients who got the active compound had less pain and less sign of inflammation," Leventhal says. By contrast, the control group showed worsening disease activity or no improvement during the course of the study. The researchers describe their results in the NOV. 1 ANNALS OF INTERNAL MEDICINE.

Although the team found no adverse side effects associated with gammalinolenic acid in this study, the compound's safety has not been proved in a large-scale trial, Leventhal cautions. Rather than rush out to health food stores to purchase primrose or borage seed oil, he advises, people with rheumatoid arthritis should rely on proven treatments for this condition.
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Title Annotation:gammalinolenic acid found in seeds of evening primrose or borage plants ease symptoms
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Nov 6, 1993
Words:208
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