Skin Issues, Just One Sign of a GLA Deficiency

By Teresa Wagner, RD, LD
January 2, 2019

Do you suffer with dry skin, breaking nails or cracked heels? Then, no matter how much lotion you use, nothing seems to help? During this season of dry skin, how about trying to help your skin from the inside out with the essential fatty acid GLA (gamma linolenic acid).  

In addition to those skin signals listed above, dry hair, bumps on the back of your arms and cracked fingertips are also signs that you may be deficient in GLA, part of the omega-6 essential fatty acid family that our bodies need to thrive.

GLA nourishes your cells and decreases inflammation. Without it, your skin can suffer – but so too can hormones and metabolism, let us explain.

GLA can be most effective for these three things:

  • Skin – GLA promotes hydration and elasticity inside and out. Cracking skin, dry hair and brittle nails may indicate that you need more healthy fats like GLA. GLA can help with dermatitis, incontinence, and asthma. In all cases, GLA supports tissue health. (And can even help reduce wrinkles!)
  • Weight – Simply put, your body needs the right kind of fats to lose fat. Research has found that essential fatty acids, like GLA, may help with weight loss.
  • Hormone Management – If you experience PMS or menopausal symptoms, you may benefit from GLA because it has been found to support hormonal balance.

If you’re looking for support with any of the above symptoms, we’d suggest giving GLA a try. Our nutritionists recommend clients start with two softgels a day, while others find they need to use up to six. For more support with your health, schedule a phone or in-person nutrition consultation with one of our nutritionists and dieticians.

About the author

Teresa is a licensed dietitian at Nutritional Weight & Wellness. As a mother of three children and avid runner, Teresa knows that good nutrition is essential for energy and well-being. She also sees first-hand the impact food choices have on her children’s behavior, moods and happiness. Teresa is a registered and licensed dietitian through the Minnesota Board of Nutrition and Dietetics. She received her B.S. in dietetics from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and completed her dietetic internship at Indiana University School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. She worked as a clinical dietitian for the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis.

View all posts by Teresa Wagner, RD, LD


How much GLA should I be taking? My skin is extremely dry
January 3, 2019 at 4:27 pm


I would start with  3000 mg per day of GLA and be sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water through the day. 

Stangl, Mandy
How about GLA for young men (24) for heavy dandruff,eczema? and how much?
Thanks, Mandy
January 3, 2019 at 7:17 pm


We are definitely in dry skin season! I would begin a regime of GLA at 3000 mg per day for both dry skin and men.  There can be many dietary factors that help with both dandruff and eczema including food intolerances.  If you are still struggling with skin issues I recommend an appointment with one of our Nutritionists.

Can I take Gla-160 and fishoil?
January 12, 2019 at 6:27 am


Yes, you can take GLA and Omega 3 Fish oils at the same time.  

Can you take gla while nursing and/or pregnant?
January 30, 2019 at 4:49 pm


We don't recommend GLA while pregnant, but it's fine while nursing. 

I 66 and take several supplements for healthy skin. I use flax oil, cod liver oil, borage oil and HA acid. I also use prescription Tretinon for anti aging, which is very drying to the skin.I also use collagen supplements and try to eat healthy. Should I start taking GLA and what foods if any contain this supplement? Thank you please do respond
December 3, 2023 at 2:46 pm


GLA comes from borage seed oil so if you're already taking that, you wouldn’t need it. However, our NutriKey GLA is high quality and provides 4000 mg. It’s an essential fatty acid meaning our body cannot make it. There aren’t really great sources of GLA in food- it’s an omega-6 found in plant seed oils so to get a therapeutic benefit supplementation is best.

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