20 Sep

The most exciting development with evening primrose oil in recent years is its effect on viral infections. This could herald a radically new low risk approach to treating viral infections, including AIDS.
Essential fatty acids and viral infections
It is now known that essential fatty acids are severely depleted in patients with AIDS, and reduced in patients with glandular fever (infected with the Epstein-Barr virus) and other viral infections.
This may be caused by the effects of the virus itself, rather than any lack of essential fatty acids in the diet. It seems that the virus deliberately interferes with the body’s ability to make gammalinolenic acid (GLA) and eicosapentaenoic acid from the parent dietary essential fatty acids by blocking the enzyme delta-6-desaturase. This effectively knocks out part of the body’s defense system.
Essential fatty acids are particularly important because they have direct virus-killing effects and are lethal at surprisingly low concentrations to many viruses. They are also required for the anti-viral actions of the body’s own natural virus fighter, interferon.
Interferon is the body’s own virus-fighting agent. But in order to be effective as an anti-viral  agent, interferon needs prostaglandins, which are converted from essential fatty acids. Without the EFAs and the prostaglandins, the anti-viral actions of interferon are lost, or certainly much diminished.
The same applies to the drug interferon; it can’t work properly if the levels of EFAs are very low.
So the rationale for giving evening primrose oil together with fish oils to patients with a viral infection is to increase the supply of the metabolites of the parent EFAs so that the EFAs can do their viral-killing work and also help interferon do its virus-fighting job.

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