Flax Seed Oil
|See Also||Food Supplements|
Flax Seed Oil is produced from the seeds of the flax plant (Linum usitatissimum), and is a rich source of fatty acids. The fatty acid content of flax seed oil is composed of 70% polyunsaturated fatty acids, 18% monounsaturated fatty acids, and 9% saturated fatty acids. It is one of the richest sources of the omega 3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA plays a role in the structural integrity of cell membranes and is a precursor for eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), although elevation of EPA and DHA levels has not been demonstrated with long term flax seed oil supplementation. Flax, but not flax seed oil, contains lignans, included enterodiol and enterolactone which are both weak estrogen antagonists.
Flax seed oil can be consumed as a supplement in pure oil form, or added directly to food.
- Hypertension - increased tissue levels of linolenic acid correlate with decreases in blood pressure.
- Inflammation - ALA inhibits neutrophilic inflammatory response, and decreases the production of arachidonic acid (a pro-inflammatory fatty acid).
Flax seeds are used to treat conditions such as:
The recommended dosages have not yet been established. To determine what your specific requirements are talk to your naturopathic doctor or other trained medical professional.
Flax seed oil is generally considered safe. Specific considerations include:
- Doses in excess of 30 grams per day have been associated with loose stools and diarrhea.
- Theoretically, concomitant use with herbs or supplements affecting platelet aggregation could increase risk of bleeding, based on some evidence that flax seed oil decreases platelet aggregation.
- Drug Interactions:
- Be cautious in combination with anitcoagulant or antiplatelet drugs.
- Flaxseed Oil Monograph. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database.
- Prousky Jonathan (2008) Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Clinical Nutrition,CCNM Press.