Nutrition Market

Evening Primrose Oil Tablets

About Evening Primrose Oil

What is Evening Primrose Oil?

Evening primrose oil (EPO) is a nutritional supplemental evening primrose oil derived from the seeds of the evening primrose plant (Oenothera biennis). It has been used for centuries by Native Americans for its healing properties and was introduced in Europe in the 17th century. EPO is a rich source of essential fatty acids, such as gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and linoleic acid. It also contains vitamin E and other nutrients.

EPO is commonly used to help with skin conditions, PMS symptoms, menopause symptoms, and rheumatoid arthritis pain. It is thought to help restore the body's natural balance of fatty acids and promote hormonal balance. Studies show EPO may also lower cholesterol, improve nerve function and have anti-inflammatory effects.

Benefits of Taking Evening Primrose Oil

Some key benefits of taking evening primrose oil supplements may include:

  • Alleviating PMS symptoms: EPO is thought to help relieve breast pain, headaches, bloating and irritability associated with PMS. The GLA in it helps balance hormones.
  • Easing menopause symptoms: EPO can help reduce hot flashes, night sweats, irritability and dryness associated with menopause by supporting hormonal balance.
  • Treating acne and eczema: The antiinflammatory effects of EPO make it beneficial for inflammatory skin conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis.
  • Lowering breast pain: EPO supplements are often used to help reduce cyclical breast pain and tenderness.
  • Supporting healthy cholesterol levels: EPO may help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol.
  • Relieving rheumatoid arthritis pain: EPO's anti-inflammatory properties help reduce joint swelling and tenderness in rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Improving nerve function: EPO may help repair nerve damage caused by diabetes, chemotherapy and other conditions.
  • Promoting heart health: EPO helps improve blood circulation and lower blood pressure and heart disease risk.

Overall, EPO helps restore the balance of essential fatty acids and has positive effects on hormonal, skin, nerve, joint and heart health.

Potential Side Effects

EPO supplements are generally well tolerated by most people. Potential side effects may include:

  • Upset stomach or diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Rash

EPO may increase bleeding risks in people taking blood-thinning medications. It is best to consult a doctor before taking EPO if you have any chronic health condition or are taking any medications.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also consult their doctor before taking EPO supplements.

Understanding EPO

What is EPO?

EPO stands for evening primrose oil. It is extracted from the seeds of evening primrose (Oenothera biennis), a wildflower native to North America. The evening primrose plant produces small yellow flowers that bloom in the evening. It grows commonly in fields and roadsides.

The seeds contain 7-10% gamma linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 essential fatty acid that provides most of evening primrose oil's health benefits. EPO also contains linoleic acid, an omega-6 essential fatty acid, and vitamin E.

EPO has a thick, yellowish appearance and nutty flavor. It has been used for centuries by Native Americans for treating bruises, swelling, gastrointestinal issues and sore throats. Today it is used as a popular dietary supplement.

How EPO is Extracted

Evening primrose seeds contain the highest concentration of essential fatty acids. To extract the oil, the seeds are crushed and pressed until the oil runs out. This "cold pressed" method helps preserve the integrity of the fatty acids.

Some manufacturers may also use chemical solvents like hexane to extract more oil. But this process can destroy some of the beneficial compounds in EPO. That's why cold pressed EPO is recommended.

After extraction, the oil is bottled and encapsulated. EPO in liquid form needs to be kept refrigerated to prevent it from becoming rancid. Capsules provide more convenience and longer shelf life.

Evening primrose oil has surged in popularity over the last few decades as research has revealed its health promoting properties. Some reasons why EPO has become so popular worldwide include:

  • Rich source of essential fatty acids like GLA and linoleic acid
  • Helps balance hormones and alleviate PMS and menopause symptoms
  • Antiinflammatory effects provide relief from skin, joint and nerve inflammation
  • Linked to improved heart health markers like cholesterol levels and blood pressure
  • Widely available, affordable and convenient to take in capsule form
  • Generally well tolerated with minimal side effects for most people

As a natural supplement, EPO provides a safer alternative to medications for controlling conditions like acne, eczema, PMS, menopause and arthritis inflammation. Its richness in essential fatty acids and antioxidant vitamin E offers overall health and wellness benefits.

Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA)

What is GLA?

Gamma-linolenic acid or GLA is an omega-6 essential fatty acid found in certain plant-based oils. Evening primrose oil contains one of the highest concentrations of GLA (7-10%).

GLA is considered an essential fatty acid because the body cannot produce it on its own. It must be obtained through food sources. Other natural sources of GLA include borage oil, black currant seed oil and hemp oil.

As an omega-6 fatty acid, GLA promotes a healthy inflammatory response in the body. It is also a precursor to anti-inflammatory compounds called prostaglandins that help regulate many bodily processes.

Role of GLA in Evening Primrose Oil

GLA gives evening primrose oil its anti-inflammatory and hormonal balancing properties. The body converts GLA into dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA) which gets further converted into antiinflammatory compounds called prostaglandins.

These prostaglandins help modulate inflammation, hormones, immune function, nerve impulses, blood vessel constriction, cholesterol metabolism and cellular growth and repair.

By providing the raw material to make prostaglandins, GLA in EPO helps correct imbalances that underlie conditions like PMS, acne, arthritis, nerve damage and heart disease.

Health Benefits of GLA

Some specific benefits provided by GLA in evening primrose oil include:

  • Alleviating PMS and menopause symptoms by promoting hormonal balance
  • Reducing breast tenderness, acne outbreaks and skin inflammation
  • Easing rheumatoid arthritis pain by lowering inflammation
  • Improving nerve function and promoting nerve regeneration
  • Lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Reducing asthma symptoms by inhibiting inflammation
  • Slowing bone loss in osteoporosis
  • Improving diabetic neuropathy
  • Increasing milk production during breastfeeding

Overall, the GLA in EPO enhances cell communication, nutrient absorption, immune response, mood regulation and nervous system function.

Dosage and Usage

The recommended dosage of evening primrose oil capsules depends on the reason for use:

  • General health: 500-1300 mg per day
  • PMS: 1500-3000 mg per day from day 1 of the menstrual cycle till day 3
  • Menopause symptoms: 3000-4000 mg per day
  • Eczema and atopic dermatitis: Up to 8000 mg per day for 4-6 months
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: 3000-6000 mg per day

EPO dosage can be split across the day for better absorption. It’s best taken with food. Lower doses of 500-1000 mg per day are suitable for long-term maintenance after symptoms improve.

Seek advice from your healthcare provider for appropriate EPO dosage based on your health condition and other medications or supplements you may be taking.

How to Take Evening Primrose Oil Capsules

  • Take EPO capsules with food for best absorption. The fat in a meal helps you assimilate the essential fatty acids better.
  • Swallow the capsules with water or juice. Do not chew or crush them.
  • Take EPO at least 2-3 times per day with meals. Splitting up the dosage helps maintain optimal levels throughout the day.
  • For PMS, start taking EPO from day 1 of your cycle and continue till day 3 of your next period.
  • For other conditions, be patient for at least 2-3 months as it may take time to notice effects.
  • Once your symptoms improve, you can reduce to a maintenance dose of 500-1000 mg daily.
  • Refrigerate any unopened bottles to prolong shelf life. But keep your in-use bottle in a cool, dry place.
  • Check expiry date and proper storage instructions mentioned on the bottle. Discard if expiry date has passed.

Precautions and Interactions

  • Consult your doctor before taking EPO if you have any medical condition or take blood thinners.
  • Discontinue use if you experience digestive upset, headache or skin rash.
  • EPO may add to anticoagulant effects of drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, warfarin or heparin.
  • Don't take EPO if you have epilepsy or schizophrenia as it may exacerbate symptoms.
  • Check for nut allergy as EPO comes from plant seeds. Seek medical care if you experience breathing issues or anaphylaxis.

Overall, EPO is well tolerated when taken as per recommended dosages. But it’s best to consult a doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns.


Is evening primrose oil safe?

Evening primrose oil is generally safe when taken in the recommended dosage. Side effects are usually mild like headache, upset stomach or rash. It is not recommended for people with epilepsy, schizophrenia or anyone taking blood thinners. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult their doctor before taking EPO.

When should I take evening primrose oil?

The best time to take EPO is with food, 2-3 times per day. Splitting up the dosage helps maintain optimal levels throughout the day. For treating PMS, take it from day 1 of your period till day 3 of your next cycle. For other conditions, take it consistently for 2-3 months to see results.

How long does it take for evening primrose oil to work?

It may take 2-3 months of consistent use to see benefits of evening primrose oil for conditions like eczema, arthritis pain, PMS and menopause relief. For general health, some effects like improved skin and circulation may be noticed within a few weeks. But it's important to keep taking it to experience the full effects.

Can I take evening primrose oil long term?

Yes, evening primrose oil can be taken long term. Once you achieve symptom relief, you can reduce to a maintenance dose of 500-1000mg daily for continued benefits. It's a good source of essential fatty acids that provide overall health benefits with long term use.

Does evening primrose oil cause weight gain?

There is no evidence that evening primrose oil causes weight gain. In fact, GLA may help with fat burning and weight management. Any weight changes could be due to individual differences in metabolism and diet rather than EPO itself.

Can I take evening primrose oil while pregnant?

Pregnant women should consult their doctor before taking evening primrose oil. While it may help relieve swelling, breast tenderness and other pregnancy discomforts, its safety has not been firmly established. EPO may increase risk of post-partum hemorrhage so medical guidance is recommended.

How does evening primrose oil help acne?

Evening primrose oil helps treat acne through its anti-inflammatory properties. It reduces swelling and redness. GLA gets converted to compounds that modulate inflammation and cell growth. This helps inhibit the factors that promote acne lesions. EPO also helps balance hormones that trigger excess oil production and clogged pores. Find out more about skin health supplements here.

Does evening primrose oil help hair loss?

There is some evidence evening primrose oil may help with hair loss. Its fatty acids nourish hair follicles and GLA has antiinflammatory effects on the scalp. EPO may help treat hair loss associated with autoimmune conditions like alopecia areata by suppressing inflammation around hair follicles. More research is needed.

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