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Borage (Borago officinalis), is a plant that comes from Asia, but it is also cultivated in northern Africa and in different european countries, including France, England, Germany and the Netherlands. Borage oil is obtained through the pressure of the grains. This oil is very much sought after, both in dietetics (human and animal ones), and in human cosmetics, because of its richness in a special fatty acid, gamma linolenic acid (or GLA).

What is the role of gamma-linolenic acid ?

The main interest of GLA lies in the fact that it orientates the metabolism of fatty acids towards the synthesis of hormones whose anti-inflammatory effects are well-known. This production is done at the expense of other hormones that promote inflammatory mechanisms. Then, GLA supplementation allows to limit these inflammatory phenomenons in animals that suffer from allergic diseases, or various cutaneous problems. In older animals, GLA has got a positive effect on the hair sheen, the suppleness of the skin…

Origin of GLA

GLA normally derives from linoleic acid, an essentiel fatty acid that must be present in the diet of dogs and cats. However, it exists some cases where this synthesis from linoleic acid cannot be performed properly.

Examples :

  • in older animals, the enzyme in charge of the conversion (linoleic acid _ GLA), seems to be less and less efficient;
  • in the cat, the enzyme in charge of this transformation has a very low activity,
  • hepatic troubles, diabetes, or hypothyroïdic syndrom, are other causes likely to disturb the synthesis of GLA.

The only ones oils that bring an interesting quantity of GLA are: borage oil, evening primrose oil, and blackcurrent oil. Among them, borage oil is the only one that contains more than 20 % of GLA.

Therapeutic using of borage oil

Positive effects are especially obvious in dogs or cats that present an hypersensitivity predisposition. In the majority of these cases, a regression of most of the cutaneous irritation symptoms can be observed a few weeks after the beginning of the dietary supplementation. Only itching seems more difficult to control. Results are also promising concerning problems due to hypersecretion of sebum by the skin (seborrhea).

When chronic cutaneous diseases make compulsory a medical treatment, borage oil supplementation can make possible to reduce the necessary doses of the drugs. Consenquently, it limits the risk of undesirable secondary effects due to the medical treatment.

In cosmetics, borage oil is incorporated in products that aim at enhancing the suppleness and the elasticity of the skin.

In older rats, one observes that GLA supplementation makes less serious troubles of cardiac rythm. Borage oil has got an interest in the prevention of circulatory troubles.


As soon as the animal reaches its maturity, it becomes very interesting to provide some borage oil in the diet, to make up for eventual metabolic deficiencies. Therefore, borage oil, particularly concentrated in GLA, is then included in all ROYAL CANIN products for older or mature animals, as in products focused on the hair beauty:

  • RCCI Size : all Adult 2 products
  • Vet Size : all Mature Adult products
  • Energy Size : Mini Energy
  • Feline Nutrition : Hair & Skin 33, Persian 30, Senior 28.

However, it must not be forgotten that very unsaturated oils, like borage oil, are very prone to oxidation. When incorporated in the diet, it must go with an enrichment of vitamine E, in order to fight against the formation of free radicals in the body.

Donated by the Borg Cardona and Co. Ltd. visit Borg Cardona website

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