10 Amazing Benefits of Flaxseed Oil - A Guide to “Deep Sea Fish Oil on Land”
- Flaxseed Oil Benefits - What is it good for?
- What is Flaxseed Oil?
- Flaxseed and Linseed Oil - Are they the same?
- What are the benefits of Flaxseed Oil?
- Who should take flaxseed oil?
Flaxseed Oil Benefits - What is it good for?
Flaxseeds are seeds from flax plants. They are herb-like plants with thin stems and will usually grow to a height of over one metre. These plants have been cultivated during ancient civilisations to as far back as 30,000 years ago. The fibres from the plant are made into linen cloth and rope. Flax seeds are used to make linseed oil and flaxseed oil, which we will explain further in the next section.
Today, flaxseed is produced in large amounts by Canada, China, Argentina, and the United States. On its own, flaxseeds have a mild, nutty flavour and can be grounded into flax meals. There are two variations of flaxseeds, dark brown and golden. The nutrition contents are the same though the dark seeds have slightly higher amounts of ALA (alpha-linoleic acid).
What is Flaxseed Oil?
Flaxseed oil is obtained from the crushed seeds of flax plants, also known by the scientific name, linum usitatissimum. It has high amounts of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid that possesses anti-inflammatory properties and helps in decreasing cholesterol levels. Its health benefits are much higher than other vegetable oils on the ground and known to be the “deep-sea fish oil on land.”
Since our body cannot create ALA and must be ingested through diet, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has established it as an essential fatty acid. It is often used in treating carpal tunnel syndrome (median nerve compression on the hand), diabetic foot ulcers, rheumatoid arthritis, and high blood pressure.
In ayurvedic medicine, flaxseed oil is believed to improve mental and physical endurance. It can balance the skin’s pH levels, increase hydration, and aid wound healing. In the Middle Ages, flaxseed oil was administered to those who have kidney disorders.
Flaxseed and Linseed Oil - Are they the same?
Most people agree that flaxseed and linseed oil are the same, as they both come from the same plant. Both types originate from the inner part of the flaxseed. The only difference that lies between them is their usage. Flaxseed oil is cold-pressed, comes out yellow, and used for consumption. Linseed oil is extracted through heat and pressure and emerges dark, tastes bitter and has a foul smell. It is often used as a coating for paints, feed for livestock, or to make fabrics and paper.
What are the benefits of Flaxseed Oil?
We will be looking exclusively at flaxseed oil and how it benefits our wellbeing.
Rich in ALA
May help in slowing cancer cell growth
Although these studies were conducted on animals, it has shown much promise in producing results, demonstrating flaxseed oil’s ability in reducing and slowing down the growth of cancer cells. Only one known study is done on humans to study the link between ALA and cancer risk. The subjects in Lyon Diet Heart Study consumed a Mediterranean diet that is rich in ALA. The results show that there was a 61% reduction in cancer risk. However, more research is needed to know whether consuming flaxseed oil supplements does the same for humans.
Improves overall heart health
Thanks to its high ALA content, flaxseed oil is considered to be one of the most excellent foods in protecting your heart by making your arteries more elastic and reducing blood pressure.
May help ease constipation and diarrhea
If you find yourself having trouble getting your bowel movements under control, flaxseed oil can help solve it. Flaxseed oil is effective in acting as a laxative as well as regulating bowel movements and stool consistency. A short-term study on flaxseed oil on constipation showed that it is as effective as mineral oil (regular treatment for those who experience constipation) in patients undergoing hemodialysis. However, more studies are needed as current research is limited to animals and individuals with specific conditions for the time being.
May enhance your skin
There’s now possibly another way for you to get blemish-free skin without turning to chemical-based products to do so! In a study done among 13 women, they experienced smoother, more hydrated, and less sensitive skin after 12 weeks of ingesting flaxseed oil.
Potentially reduces inflammation
While different studies are arguing for and against flaxseed oil’s ability in reducing inflammation, there is data to show that it has significantly lowered C-reactive protein, a marker commonly used to measure inflammation.
Who should take flaxseed oil?
Should flaxseed oil supplements be part of your diet? It may be beneficial to you if you suffer from any of the conditions below:
Flaxseed oil for acne prone skin
Skin sensitivity can cause redness and breakouts that can be painful and damage self-confidence.
A randomised controlled trial using flaxseed oil supplements resulted in decreased sensitivity, skin roughness, and scaling. After twelve weeks, the subjects saw significant improvements in their skin with better hydration and less pronounced acne.
Flaxseed oil for hair loss
According to two scientists, Banerjee Kaushita and Padma Thiagarajan, flaxseed oil for hair is a natural alternative to synthetic drugs.
It may be phenols, flavonoids and lignins present in the oil that improve the state of hair follicles. These nutrients are antioxidants that protect and promote healthy growth of cells on the scalp.
Flaxseed oil for breast cancer
Flaxseed also contains lignans (not to be confused with lignins mentioned above) that have a similar compound structure to estrogen (the female hormone). Because of this similarity, they compete with estrogen in certain chemical reactions in the body.
Consuming lignans stop antagonistic estrogens, slowing down the progress of certain breast cancers that thrive on the availability of estrogen.
A study in 2019 concluded that flaxseed oil can potentially stop cancer cells from spreading through the disruption of active processes in the cancer cells. More studies will be conducted on flaxseed oil and its potential in anti-cancer therapy.
Flaxseed oil for dry eyes
A preliminary study was conducted on twelve subjects to test the effectiveness of flaxseed oil for the eyes.
Each took a high dosage of 9,000 milligrams every day for three months. After that period, they reported experiencing less itching, dryness, burning and eye fatigue.
Flaxseed oil for weight loss
Preliminary studies are conducted on animals but have shown positive results.
Flaxseed oil was showed to reduce fat cell size and reduce pro-inflammatory compounds in obese rats. Being overweight increases the risk of insulin resistance and heart issues, and though not thoroughly proven, flaxseed oil does hold the potential to help burn off fat in obese people.
Are there any side effects from taking flaxseed oil?
Flaxseed oil has many benefits, but those with underlying health conditions may need to consult the doctor before taking it. You should not take flaxseed oil if:
- You are taking an anticoagulant (drugs that slow down blood clotting process)
Flaxseed oil potentially slows blood clotting. If you are taking medications that work as blood thinners, you increase the chances of internal bleeding.
The medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, ibuprofen and heparin, among others.
- You are pregnant
Abstain from taking flaxseed oil when pregnant. The effects may be adverse with a risk of premature birth four times higher if consumed during the last two trimesters of pregnancy.
- You are breastfeeding
It is a common misconception among those breastfeeding that taking flaxseed oil can improve lactation and provide their child with the necessary DHA (one part of the omega-3 amino acids that help with brain development).
A study conducted showed no significant change in the DHA contents in breast milk after flaxseed oil supplementation.
Moreover, no study has been conducted to check if flaxseed oil is safe to consume when breastfeeding.
- You have a bleeding disorder
If you have a bleeding disorder, taking flaxseed oil is not encouraged as it can increase the risk of internal bleeding.
- You have just undergone a surgery
Stop your flaxseed oil supplement for two weeks after surgery to avoid the risk of internal bleeding.
You should also reduce your flaxseed oil consumption if:
- You notice digestive issues (loose stool or diarrhea)
Loose stool and diarrhea are not uncommon when you consume too much flaxseed oil. Lower your dosage if that is the outcome of your trips to the toilet.
- If you are taking fish oil
It is not a strong no-no when it comes to taking fish oil and flaxseed oil together. Both are great omega-3 supplements, but it is unnecessary to take them both together. Talk to your doctor about the dosage if you want to take both of these supplements daily.
What to look for when buying flaxseed oil?
There are two types of flaxseed oils in the market, either in liquid or capsules. If you want to use it topically or for cooking, opt for the liquid variation. However, keep them refrigerated.
If you are buying flaxseed oil in capsule form, be sure to check the dosage. It also should be cold-pressed as heat can destroy the omega-3 content in the capsule. Another aspect you should take note of is the origin of the flax plants. If you are particular, check if they are non-GMO and not treated with pesticides or other chemicals.
We recommend Nature’s Farm® Flaxseed Oil 1000 as it is made from certified organic flaxseed oil. The oil is cold-pressed at high temperatures. Because of the way it is derived, the natural oil in the seed is in its purest form, with its nutrition retained. It also does not contain any preservatives, additives, bleach, or filters. You can take one to three servings daily (3,000 to 9,000 milligrams) after meals. Each capsule contains 3,000 milligrams of flaxseed oil.
If you are a vegetarian, snip the top of the soft capsule shell made from gelatin and consume the contents directly.
Cheers to a healthier you!
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