The benefits of borage oil for fertility are linked to its gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and antioxidant content which is found to improve reproductive health and conception .
The article exposes how borage oil impacts both health and fertility. It also reveals how to use it as well as the possible side effects (downsides). Before we go further, let us briefly take a look at the Borage oil origin
What is Borage oil?
Borage oil is extracted from the seeds of the borage plant (Borago officinalis). It is a native of the Mediterranean region  and is now grown in many parts of the world, including North America, Europe, and Asia.
It is a rich source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid that the body cannot produce on its own.
GLA is converted into hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which play a role in many important bodily functions, including: fighting inflammation, balancing hormones, improving cardiovascular and skin health, as well as boosting the immune system [2, 3, 4, 5, 13].
Borage oil is a valuable source of essential fatty acids and other active compounds including antioxidants  that have a variety of health benefits. These active compounds in borage oil include:
- Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA): An essential fatty acid that is converted into hormone-like substances called prostaglandins. GLA is important for reducing inflammation, regulating hormones, and supporting cardiovascular health [8, 9].
- Linoleic acid: Another essential fatty acid that is important for heart health, skin health, and brain health.
- Oleic acid: A monounsaturated fatty acid that has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and improve heart health.
- Vitamin E: A powerful antioxidant that protects cells from damage.
Health benefits of borage oil
Borage oil is a rich source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid that the body cannot produce on its own. GLA is converted into hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which play a role in many important bodily functions. The health benefits of borage oil are:
- Fight inflammation
- Regulates hormones
- Supports cardiovascular health
- Improves skin health
- Boosts the immune system
Boosts the immune system
Borage seed oil is rich in antioxidant compounds that can improve the body’s immune defense , protect DNA from oxidative damage, and promote longevity.
According to a supporting study, It was found that borage seed oils have anti-mutagenic effects, meaning they can help to protect DNA from damage. Additionally, borage seed oil was found to increase the lifespan of fruit flies, a common model organism used in aging research .
Improves skin health
The benefits of borage oil for the skin are linked to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects on the skin, which promote wound healing and repair the skin barrier .
For skin treatment, borage seed oil may also be suitable as a natural skin-whitening cosmeceutical product. A supporting double-blind, randomized clinical trial showed that a cream containing 1% lipase-treated borage oil significantly decreased melasma on the treated skin area after 6 and 8 weeks .
The brightness of the treated area was also significantly increased after 4, 6, and 8 weeks this was linked to the ability of lipase-treated borage oil to regulate the activity and degradation of tyrosinase, an enzyme involved in melanin synthesis.
Although, borage oil may help improve the symptoms of eczema, such as dryness, itching, and redness. However, study says it has not been proven effective in treating eczema .
Supports cardiovascular health
Research shows that borage oil supports cardiovascular health by reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease linked to its protection from atherosclerosis or arterial plaquing which is an inflammatory disorder [15, 16, 17].
Study shows that borage oil is rich in gamma-linolenic acid which is found to increase prostaglandin .
The rich gamma-linolenic acid contents of borage oil also have anti-inflammatory effects and can help fight body inflammation.
It can also help treat Rheumatoid arthritis: Borage oil can help to reduce inflammation and pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis .
An 18-month, randomized, double-blind trial evaluated the efficacy of a combination of borage seed oil (rich in gamma-linolenic acid) and fish oil (rich in eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) versus each oil alone in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
The result showed that a combination of borage seed oil and fish oil is a safe and effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, leading to significant improvements in disease activity and reduction .
A variety of health conditions can also effectively be treated with borage oil including:
PMS: Borage oil can help to reduce the symptoms of PMS, such as breast tenderness, cramps, and mood swings.
Menopause: Borage oil can help to reduce the symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and night sweats.
High blood pressure: Borage oil may help to lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
Fertility benefits of borage oil
The benefits of borage oil for fertility may stem from its essential fatty acid content which is found to help combat inflammation even in the reproductive organs, it may increase prostaglandin , which has a hormone-like effect. Studies have shown that these fatty acids may influence fertility in several ways [24, 25, 26].
GLA is important for fertility in both men and women. In women, GLA can help to improve cervical mucus production, which is necessary for sperm to reach the egg.
GLA can also help to regulate ovulation and support the development of the endometrium, the lining of the uterus. In men, GLA can help to improve sperm quality and motility.
There are claims according to anecdotal evidence that borage oil may be effective in improving fertility in both men and women. As it may increase ovulation rate and pregnancy outcomes in women.
There is also a claim that borage oil may increase sperm count and motility in men. However, these claims are based on anecdotal evidence, and scientific studies are needed for further validation.
Downsides of borage oil
Borage oil is generally safe for most people to take when used as directed. However, one case report has shown that overdose borage oil ingestion may temporally induce temporal lobe and gelastic seizures which can lead to epileptics . There are other potential side effects, including:
- Upset stomach
- Skin rash
How to use borage oil for fertility
If you are interested in using borage oil for fertility, the recommended dose is typically 1-2 grams per day. Borage oil should be taken with food to help with absorption. It is important to note that borage oil can be sensitive to heat and light, so it should be stored in a cool, dark place.
Borage oil should not be taken by people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or by people who have liver disease or a bleeding disorder. Borage oil may interact with certain medications, so it is important to talk to your doctor before taking it if you are taking any medications.
Forms and Dosage
Borage oil is typically available in capsule or liquid form. The recommended dose of borage oil varies depending on the condition being treated. For fertility, the recommended dose is typically 1-2 grams per day.
It is important to note that borage oil can be sensitive to heat and light, so it should be stored in a cool, dark place.
Borage oil is a plant oil with a variety of health and fertility benefits. It is a rich source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid that the body cannot produce on its own. GLA is converted into hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which play a role in many important bodily functions, including reducing inflammation, regulating hormones, supporting cardiovascular health, and maintaining skin health.
Borage oil is effective in treating a variety of health conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, eczema, PMS, menopause, and high blood pressure. It has also been shown to improve fertility in both men and women.
Borage oil is generally safe for most people to take when used as directed. However, there are a few potential side effects, and borage oil should not be taken by people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or by people who have liver disease or a bleeding disorder. Borage oil may also interact with certain medications, so it is important to talk to your doctor before taking it if you are taking any medications.
JC is passionate about finding the impact of foods (feeding habits) on human fertility and reproductive health and a way to improve fertility.