Flaxseed oil is an omega 3 fatty acid offering a wealth of health benefits. It should be noted, though, that the oil can interact with both blood thinning and blood sugar lowering medications.
When you look into healthy diets, you will surely see the word flax in either its whole form or as flaxseed oil. As a whole seed, it gives you omega 3s, fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Flaxseed oil is made up of nearly 55% omega 3 fatty acid (alpha-linolenic acid) which provides a great deal of the health benefits of this oil. In smaller amounts, it also contains omega 6 fatty acid.
Consuming a proper balance of omega 3 to omega 6 is very important and a big problem in the American diet which is typically heavy on the omega 6 side. While both of these polyunsaturated fats are necessary for the diet and provide health benefits, too much omega 6 can cause inflammatory disorders and disease. Omega 3s on the other hand fight inflammation which minimizes the risks of developing cancer, keeps the skin and hair healthy, prevents heart disease and can help manage weight. Since ALA is used to create DHA and EPA in the body, benefits can also include boosting the immune system, improving brain function and regulating digestion health.
Digestive symptoms that can be addressed with flaxseed oil including constipation and diarrhea. Diarrhea can be caused by various conditions including poor intestinal health. Flaxseed oil can help to repair the intestinal cells making them better able to absorb nutrients. It also acts as a lubricant to the colon assisting in constipation relief and removal of the toxins that live there. This further helps with weight loss.
Heart health is improved by flaxseed oil by the effects of ALA on the body. ALA protects against free radicals, and prevents atherosclerosis and plaquing in the blood vessels by the elimination of "bad" LDL cholesterol. Many people have a hard time with this concept, but you must consume good fats to fight bad fats. Flaxseed oil is a good fat, though, and adding it to your diet will help eliminate the bad fat in your body. This will also work to maintain a healthy blood pressure.
You should be aware that flaxseed oil can interact with blood thinning and blood sugar lowering medications, so talk to your doctor about adding this oil to your diet. Anticoagulant effects can be increased by omega 3s and that’s something that should be monitored. Omega 3s can also increase you fasting blood sugar levels which could cause the need for more medicine.
Possible short-term side effects
- affects blood sugar levels
- interacts with some medications
- constipation relief
- healthy hair and skin
- maintains normal blood pressure
- fights inflammation
- lowers ldl cholesterol
- boosts immune system
- improves brain function
- improves digestion
- prevents heart/cardiovascular disease
- helps to maintain weight
- keeps skin healthy
- minimizes the risk of developing cancers
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Written by Kristin Brown, DC, MS | 08-19-2016
Written by Kristin Brown, DC, MS
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