Flaxseed oil contains several nutrients like, essential fatty acids, vitamin B, protein, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. The various health benefits and the side effects of this oil, and its supplements are discussed in this article.
Flaxseed oil is derived from the dried, ripe seeds of the flaxseed or linseed plant, which is a member of the genus, Linum and the plant family, Linaceae. Nowadays, this oil is widely used for making supplements. These supplements are available in the form of capsules and pills, which are quite popular for being a rich source of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. A balance between these two types of fatty acids in the diet is very important for human health.
This oil is a good source of omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids, vitamin B, protein, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. However, most of the health benefits of this oil are attributed to alpha-linolenic acid, which is a precursor of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are the same omega-3 essential fatty acids found in fish oil. The following are some of the noteworthy health benefits of the oil derived from the seeds of the linseed plant:
- This oil can reduce or prevent the formation of blood clots within the blood vessels, which can boost heart health. This oil can significantly lower the risk of heart and cardiovascular diseases.
- Flaxseed oil, as well as ground flaxseed can lower the level of cholesterol in the blood. This can prove immensely beneficial for the health of the heart and the cardiovascular system.
- It can help regulate blood pressure, and provide protection against angina or chest pain.
- This oil has anti-inflammatory properties, for which it may provide relief in conditions like lupus, arthritis, and gout. It can speed up the healing of sprains and bruises as well.
- The flaxseed pills and capsules can be taken for promoting the health of the skin and the nails. This oil can be beneficial in skin conditions like acne, sunburn, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis.
- It can also provide protection against certain types of cancer.
- This oil can be especially beneficial for women, as it can provide relief in conditions, like premenstrual syndrome, menstrual cramps, menopausal symptoms, and endometriosis.
Possible Side effects
The excessive intake of this oil can cause a few minor side effects, like diarrhea and bloating. If taken in high dosage, this oil can increase the risk of bleeding, especially in individuals who have bleeding disorders or those who are taking blood-thinning medications. Apart from these, individuals allergic to flaxseed can experience mild to severe allergic reactions after taking this oil or its supplements.
An allergic reaction to flaxseed can manifest in skin rash, hives, unusual swelling of the mouth, lips, and the throat, wheezing, and breathing difficulty. This oil might increase the risk of prostate cancer. However, this concern has been expressed only in some preliminary research. The safety of this oil in pregnant and nursing mothers has not been established till now. So, they should not take flaxseed oil capsules without consulting their physicians.
To sum up, this oil can be immensely helpful in many health conditions. However, it should be taken with caution, and in the appropriate dosage to avoid any possible side effects. It is better to talk to a physician or a health care provider to know the right dosage, and the kind of precaution that needs to be taken while using this oil and its supplementation. Lastly, people with certain underlying health problems, as well as those taking medications for a health condition, should take flaxseed oil supplements only under the supervision of a physician or health care provider.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice.