Friday, November 30, 2018

What are the Benefits of Flaxseed Oil?

Humans have used flaxseed oil for thousands of years, and it has a variety of health benefits. Flaxseed oil comes from ripened flaxseeds that manufacturers have cold pressed to extract the oil. Another nane for flaxseed oil is linseed oil. It is commercially available in both capsule and liquid form. It contains a type of omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

Flaxseed oil may help fight certain types of cancer. Although much more research is needed to draw a definite conclusion. Flaxseed oil may also have benefits for the skin and hair, such as reducing some of the symptoms of atopic dermatitis. It may also help lower the risk of diabetes. In one meta-analysis, flaxseed and its derivatives decreased circulating C-reactive protein, which is a marker of inflammation. However, these results were only present in adults who were obese.

Minor adverse effects are possible depending on the dose and the person’s individual reaction. Possible adverse effects include gas, bloating and diarrhea. There is little information on whether or not flaxseed oil is safe to consume while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Flaxseed oil is sensitive to light and heat, so it is best to buy it in an opaque or dark glass bottle to protect it from the light and store it in a cool, dark place. The taste is mild, people can drink a spoonful straight or incorporate it into dips and sauces. People can also use flaxseed oil instead of other oils or butter for cooking. Flaxseed oil is sensitive to heat, so cooking with it will change the nutritional properties. For those who do not want to add flaxseed oil to food, it is also available in capsule form as a supplement.

My Take:
Flaxseed oil does not contain any DHA or EPA, the most studied of the omega-3 fatty acids. However, for those without any aspects of metabolic syndrome, who have a healthy diet, their bodies can easily convert the ALA to DHA or EPA. This makes flaxseed oil an important supplement for those on a plant based diet and refuse to take any animal products, like fish oil.

If you buy it buy the bottle, the best cool dark place is the refrigerator. However, the pearls prevent oxidation by light and it can be keep at room temperature without issue.

The mild side effects noted are secondary to impaired digestion in some individuals. Omega 3 fatty acids are very long chain fats and difficult to digest. If you struggle to breakdown fats, then you may experience gas, bloating or diarrhea taking any of these products. Storing the pearls in the freezer will delay the breakdown of the gelatin capsule until the supplement enters the small intestine. This should alleviate most side effects.

The omega-3 fatty acids are used by the body to make prostaglandin 3, potent anti-inflammatory compounds. Most of us are woefully deficient in consuming omega-3 fatty acids and must supplement these essential fats.

Bottom Line:
Flax seed oil is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, especially for those who do not consume animal products and wish to avoid fish oil.

November 20, 2018 NIH

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