Senescence is associated with a decreased activity of enzyme delta-6 desaturase, which converts linoleic acid to gamma-linolenic acid. This enzymatic defect may alter the composition of plasma and membrane lipids, and influences the biosynthesis of renal prostaglandins. Exogenous supplementation of GLA during 3 months increases the plasma level of dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (p < 0.002), and to a smaller degree, the level in erythrocyte membrane lipids. This treatment was associated with a beneficial reduction of cardiovascular risk factors (arterial hypertension, total cholesterol, apolipoprotein B, HDL-cholesterol, apolipoprotein A-I) and the renal function has become stable reached. Epogam treatment also increased the biosynthesis of renal prostaglandins, especially that of prostaglandin E2, which has a vasodilatory effect on vessel walls and reduces the elevated blood pressure.
Conclusion: Dietary supplementation of essential fatty acids such as gamma-linolenic acid to old subjects has beneficial effect on their health condition. (Tab. 6, Fig. 5, Ref. 37.)