Flaxseed oil is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids. It contains approximately 55 to 65 percent of Alpha-Linolenic Acid. The omega-3 fatty acids can benefit the heart by regulating rate, blood pressure, and dilation of blood vessels thereby facilitating blood flow throughout the body, especially the brain (nerve tissue formation). Alpha-Linolenic Acid and omega-3 fatty acids can help to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Flaxseed oil also contains vitamin A and carotenoids, which are antioxidants.
Flaxseed oil may reduce the pain, inflammation and swelling of arthritis. It may also lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and help reduce the hardening effects of cholesterol on cell membranes.
The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids may be compromised by high intake of omega-6 fatty acids (safflower, sunflower, and corn oils). Balance is important. An imbalance may make the body susceptible to arthritis (inflammatory disease), skin disorders (psoriasis, skin cancer), heart disease, and infection (decreases immunity).
Sources of Flaxseed Oil
Flaxseed oil is in flaxseed (when ground has a nutty flavor) and flaxseed meal. The oil is available in soft gel capsules and liquid, and should always be refrigerated to prevent it from becoming rancid.
The best flaxseed oil is processed using fresh pressed seeds. Flaxseed oil is bottled in dark containers and should be kept away from light and heat. It is best to add this oil to food after cooking. This oil can be used in salad dressings, on popcorn, in yogurt and juices, on cereal (hot or cold), and in dips.
Guidelines and Cautions
Adults may take 1 to 3 teaspoons per day.
- Do not give flaxseed oil to a child without consulting a medical professional.
- Flaxseed oil will add calories and fat to the diet.
- Flaxseed may increase bleeding time. Consult a medical professional if taking blood-thinning medications.
Disclaimer: Many people report feeling improvement in their condition and/or general well-being taking dietary, vitamin, mineral, and/or herbal supplements. The Editorial Board of SpineUniverse.com, however, cannot endorse such products since most lack peer-reviewed scientific validation of their claims. In most cases an appropriate diet and a "multiple vitamin" will provide the necessary dietary supplements for most individuals. Prior to taking additional dietary, vitamin, mineral, and/or herbal supplements it is recommended that patients consult with their personal physician to discuss their specific supplement requirements.