A very close family friend of ours gave us a big bottle of flaxseed oil capsules and so I decided to research about it. Here’s what I found.
Flaxseed oil, also called linseed oil, has been around for more than 7 centuries, having been used in many formulations, notably balms to calm down skin inflammation and slurries to treat constipation. Flaxseed oil is known for its rich content of essential fatty acids which our bodies do not manufacture and therefore must be supplied through our diet.
The flax plant originates in Europe and has been used as a source of linen fabric as well as a source of healing oil. About 40% of flaxseed is oil.The primary healing components of flaxseed oil are the essential fatty acids or EFAs which play such vital roles as protecting the cell membranes of all cells, regulating the entrance of good substances into the cells and the barring of harmful ones.
One of the essential fatty acid found in flaxseed oil is also called alpha-linolenic acid, otherwise known as omega-3 fatty acids which protect from heart disease, among others.
Health benefits of flaxseed oil
Helps prevent heart disease and hypertension
Several studies have documented the ability of flaxseed oil and ground flaxseed to lower cholesterol, protect against chest pain or angina and lower blood pressure. Flaxseed tones down the inflammatory reactions which cause formation of arterial plaques which sets the stage for the hardening of the arteries and subsequent hypertension.
Calms down inflammation
EFAs tone down inflammation and thus help with inflammatory conditions such as gout, fibrocystic disease, inflammatory bowel disease and lupus.
Flaxseed oil has skin-healing properties by virtue still of EFAs. By toning down inflammation, flaxseed oil helps inflamed skin heal faster in skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema and psoriasis. EFAs also thin out facial sebum, preventing clogging of pores which cause pimples and acne.
Improves hair and nails
EFAs are needed for healthy, shiny hair and strong nails.
The essential fatty acids in flaxseed oil also nourish nerves and as such help with nerve-related symptoms such as numbness and tingling. EFAs facilitate transmission of nerve impulses, thereby improving the status of Parkinsons’s Disease sufferers.
Helps with male problems
Flaxseed oil’s anti-inflammatory EFAs help prevent swelling and inflammation of the prostate. EFAs also keep the sperm cells healthy, improve nerve transmission and circulation and thus help with male reproductive problems.
Helps with female reproductive problems
Flaxseed is anti-estrogenic and can help normalize estrogen-progesterone levels. Flaxseed oil intake can help normalize the menstrual cycle and prevent or relieve hot flashes associated with menopause and perimenopause.
Flaxseed may delay blood clotting times.
Flaxseed is not advisable for pregnant and lactating women and kids.
It is not to be used by those with bleeding disorders and those who have undergone surgery.
Flaxseed oil oxidizes easily and should therefore be kept in the ref, away from heat, sunlight and air. (That’s why I keep my bottle of flaxseed oil capsules inside the ref.)
The right dose is yet to be determined pending further studies.
Linseed oil sold in hardware stores is still from the flax plant but is not food-grade. Hardware-sold linseed oil is used as varnish.
Flaxseed oil does not contain fiber. Ground flaxseed does.
Conclusion: I think flaxseed oil is good to be taken daily given the many health benefits it offers. Pending studies on exact dosing, I think a capsule a day is safe enough.
What do you think?
Have you been taking flaxseed oil? How has it helped you?