Flaxseed Oil - Is essential for everyone.. Article.

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by PatPalmer, Apr 14, 2003.

  1. PatPalmer

    PatPalmer New Member

    This is one supplement that`s absolutely essential for everyone on the road to better health...


    What Is It?

    A source of fiber for linen fabric since ancient times, the slender flax plant (Linum usitatissimum) also boasts a long history as a healing herb. First cultivated in Europe, the plant's brown seeds were regularly used to prepare balms for inflamed skin and healing slurries for constipation. Today, flaxseeds--also called linseeds--are best known for the therapeutic oil that is derived by pressing them. Rich in essential fatty acids, or EFAs, flaxseed oil has earned a solid reputation for treating a range of ailments, from heart disease to lupus.

    Health Benefits

    The essential fatty acids in flaxseed oil are its key healing components. EFAs are particularly valuable because the body needs them to function properly, but can't manufacture them on its own. Essential fatty acids work throughout the body to protect cell membranes, keeping them efficient at admitting healthy substances while barring damaging ones.

    One of the EFAs in flaxseed oil--alpha-linolenic acid--is known as an omega-3 fatty acid. Like the omega-3s found in fish, it appears to reduce the risk of heart disease and numerous other ailments. Flaxseed oil is an excellent source of omega-3s: Just 1 teaspoon contains about 2.5 grams, equivalent to more than twice the amount most Americans get through their diets. Flaxseeds also contain omega-6 fatty acids in the form of linoleic acid; omega-6s are the same healthy fats found in vegetable oils.

    In addition, flaxseeds are a rich source of lignans, substances that appear to positively affect hormone-related problems. Lignans may also be useful in preventing certain cancers and combating specific bacteria, fungi, and viruses, including those that cause cold sores and shingles. When taken in ground form, flaxseeds provide an extra fiber boost, easing the passage of stools and benefiting the digestive tract in multiple ways.

    Specifically, flaxseed oil (and flaxseeds) may help to:

    Lower cholesterol, protect against heart disease and control high blood pressure. Several studies indicate that flaxseed oil, as well as ground flaxseeds, can lower cholesterol, thereby significantly reducing the risk of heart disease. Taking flaxseed oil may also protect against angina (chest pain) and high blood pressure. In addition, a five-year study done recently at Boston's Simmons College found that flaxseed oil may be useful in preventing a second heart attack. It may also help prevent elevated blood pressure by inhibiting inflammatory reactions that cause artery-hardening plaque and poor circulation.

    Counter inflammation associated with gout, lupus and fibrocystic breasts. Omega-3 fatty acids appear to limit the inflammatory reaction associated with these conditions. In cases of lupus, flaxseed oil not only reduces inflammation in the joints, skin and kidneys, but also lowers cholesterol levels that may be elevated by the disease. Taking flaxseed oil for gout may lessen the often sudden and severe joint pain or swelling that is a symptom of this condition. In addition, the ability of omega-3 fatty acids to boost the absorption of iodine--a mineral often found in low levels in women suffering from fibrocystic breasts--makes flaxseed oil potentially valuable for treating this often painful condition.

    Control constipation, hemorrhoids, diverticular disorders and gallstones. Because they are high in dietary fiber, ground flaxseeds can help ease the passage of stools and thus relieve constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticular disease. In those with diverticular disease, flaxseeds may also keep intestinal pouches free of waste and thus keep potential infection at bay. Taken for inflammatory bowel disease, flaxseed oil can help to calm inflammation and repair any intestinal tract damage. In addition, the oil may prevent painful gallstones from developing and even dissolve existing stones.

    Treat acne, eczema, psoriasis, sunburn and rosacea. The essential fatty acids in flaxseed oil are largely responsible for its skin-healing powers. Red, itchy patches of eczema, psoriasis and rosacea often respond to the EFA's anti-inflammatory actions and overall skin-soothing properties. Sunburned skin may heal faster when treated with the oil as well. In cases of acne, the EFAs encourage thinning of the oily sebum that clogs pores.

    Promote healthy hair and nails. The abundant omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed oil have been shown to contribute to healthy hair growth (in fact, low levels of these acids may cause dry and lackluster locks). Hair problems exacerbated by psoriasis or eczema of the scalp may respond to the skin-revitalizing and anti-inflammatory actions of flaxseed oil as well. Similarly, the oil's EFAs work to nourish dry or brittle nails, stopping them from cracking or splitting.

    Minimize nerve damage that causes numbness and tingling as well as other disorders. The EFAs in flaxseed oil assist in the transmission of nerve impulses, making the oil potentially valuable in treating conditions of numbness and tingling. The oil's nerve-nourishing actions may also help in the treatment of Parkinson's disease, a degenerative disorder of the nervous system, and protect against the nerve damage associated with diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

    Reduce cancer risk and guard against the effects of aging. The lignans in flaxseed oil appear to play a role in protecting against breast, colon, prostate, and perhaps skin cancer. Although further studies are needed, research undertaken at the University of Toronto indicates that women with breast cancer, regardless of the degree of cancer invasiveness, may benefit from treatment with flaxseed oil. Interestingly, the oil's lignans may protect against various effects of aging as well.

    Treat menopausal symptoms, menstrual cramps, female infertility and endometriosis. Because the hormone-balancing lignans and plant estrogens (phytoestrogens) in flaxseed oil help stabilize a woman's estrogen-progesterone ratio, they can have beneficial effects on the menstrual cycle, and relieve the hot flashes of perimenopause and menopause. Flaxseed oil may also improve uterine function and thus treat fertility problems. In addition, the essential fatty acids in flaxseed oil have been shown to block production of prostaglandins, hormonelike substances that, when released in excess amounts during menstruation, can cause the heavy bleeding associated with endometriosis.

    Fight prostate problems, male infertility and impotence. The EFAs in flaxseed oil may help to prevent swelling and inflammation of the prostate, the small gland located below the bladder in males that tends to enlarge with age. Symptoms of such enlargement, such as urgency to urinate, may lessen as a result. The EFAs also play a role in keeping sperm healthy, which may be of value in treating male infertility, and they can improve blood flow to the penis, a boon for those suffering from impotence.
    Note: Flaxseed oil has also been found to be useful for a number of other disorders. For information on these additional ailments, see our Dosage Recommendations Chart for Flaxseed Oil.


    Dosage Information

    Special tips:

    --Liquid flaxseed oil is the easiest form to use, although it must be kept refrigerated.

    --Capsules containing flaxseed oil are convenient for traveling, but can be quite expensive in comparison to the liquid form. Also, a large number of capsules--approximately 14 containing 1,000 mg of oil each--are needed to get the equivalent of 1 tablespoon of oil.

    --If using ground flaxseeds, just add 1 or 2 tablespoons of to an 8-ounce glass of water and mix.

    For heart disease prevention, gout, lupus, acne, eczema, cancer prevention, hair or nail problems, endometriosis, male infertility, prostate problems and impotence: Take l tablespoon of flaxseed oil in the morning.

    For high blood pressure: Take l tablespoon of flaxseed oil a day, along with 1,000 mg of fish oils three times a day.

    For hemorrhoids: Add l tablespoon of ground flaxseeds to an 8-ounce glass of water and drink the mixture once a day. Make sure to drink extra glasses of water throughout the day as well. The treatment make take a few days to have an effect.

    For gallstones: Take l tablespoon of flaxseed oil in the morning.

    For psoriasis: Take l tablespoon of flaxseed oil each morning, along with 1,000 mg fish oils three times a day.

    For sunburn, numbness and tingling: Take l tablespoon of flaxseed oil twice a day.

    For diverticular disorders: Add 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed to an 8-ounce glass of water. Drink this mixture twice a day. Make sure to drink extra glasses of water throughout the day as well. The treatment make take a few days to have an effect.

    For menstrual disorders, menopausal symptoms, female infertility, and rosacea: Take 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil a day, along with 1,000 mg of evening primrose oil or borage oil three times a day.
    Be sure to check out our Dosage Recommendations Chart for Flaxseed Oil, which has therapeutic dosages for specific ailments at a glance.

    Guidelines for Use

    For best absorption, take flaxseed oil with food. It is easily mixed into juices and other drinks, and its nutty, buttery flavor complements cottage cheese, yogurt and many other foods. You can also use it instead of olive oil in a salad dressing. Don't cook with it, however; this will deplete the oil's nutrient content.

    Buy flaxseed oil in an opaque plastic bottle; this will prevent light from spoiling it.

    Check the expiration date on the label, as the oil spoils quickly. Keep it refrigerated for freshness. Should the oil develop a powerful odor, discard it.

    Avoid buying flaxseed oil marked as "cold-pressed." This type of processing offers no additional benefits, and processed oils are usually more expensive.

    General Interaction

    There appear to be few if any drug or nutrient interactions with flaxseeds (or their oil). Because flaxseed may interfere with the absorption of certain medicines, however, it's a good idea to consult your doctor if you are already on medication and want to take it in any form.

    Possible Side Effects

    Ground flaxseeds may produce some initial flatulence, but this won't last long.


    To prevent ground flaxseed from swelling up and obstructing your throat or digestive tract, drink plenty of water (one 8-ounce glass of water per tablespoon of ground flaxseed) along with it.

    Don't take flaxseed oil or ground flaxseed if you have a bowel obstruction of any kind.

    Allergic reactions to flaxseed have occurred. If you suddenly have difficulty breathing after taking the supplement, it is imperative that you get medical attention promptly.

    Flaxseed oil is also called linseed oil. The industrial types of linseed oil found in hardware stores are not for internal consumption, however. They may have poisonous additives.
    Ailments Dosage
    Acne 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day
    Aging 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day
    Angina 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day
    Back Pain 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day.
    Cancer Prevention 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day, or 4 capsules 3 times a day
    Cataracts 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day
    Chronic Pain 1 tbsp a day
    Cold Sores 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day
    Constipation 1-3 tbsp. ground flaxseeds in large glass of water a day
    Crohn's Disease 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day
    Eczema 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day
    Endometriosis 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day
    Fatigue 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day
    Hair Problems 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day
    Heart Disease Prevention 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day
    Hemorrhoids 1 tbsp. ground flaxseeds a day, mixed into large glass of water
    High Blood Pressure 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day
    Impotence 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day
    Infertility, Female 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day
    Infertility, Male 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day
    Kidney Stones 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day
    Lupus 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day
    Menopause 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day
    Multiple Sclerosis 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day
    Nail Problems 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day.
    Parkinson's Disease 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day.
    Perimenopause 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day
    Prostate Problems 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day
    Psoriasis 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day.
    Rosacea 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day
    Shingles 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day for flare-ups.
    Stroke 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day
    Sunburn 1 tbsp. (14 grams) once a day, mixed with food or juice. Can also be dabbed directly on sunburned skin.

    [This Message was Edited on 07/12/2003]
  2. tandy

    tandy New Member

    this is great Pat!! I've read where flaxseed is good for you....but I was'nt aware of all the things its good for!!!
    Certainly seems worthy to add to ones diet. I have taken it for a few months,but not faithfully. I'm gonna start too now!! Also,I've been getting this cereal at walmart that has these whole flaxseeds in it~Its really good for you,and tastes good too!!Too lazy/achy to get up and go look,but I think its called Sams or uncle sams? sold right in with the cereals~ Thanks for a great post on its benefits!!
  3. starstella

    starstella New Member

    i've been using it for years, my mother has also and when she runs out she can always feel the difference (usually regarding pain). i've just bought the omega 3-6-9 from pro health, the ingredients sound good. if i remember right, your post just mentions the liquid version which i usually take, tried the caps this time...my mother always uses the caps, do you know if it makes a difference?
  4. PatPalmer

    PatPalmer New Member

    Starstella, here`s a piece from the article...

    Special tips:

    --Liquid flaxseed oil is the easiest form to use, although it must be kept refrigerated.

    --Capsules containing flaxseed oil are convenient for traveling, but can be quite expensive in comparison to the liquid form. Also, a large number of capsules--approximately 14 containing 1,000 mg of oil each--are needed to get the equivalent of 1 tablespoon of oil.

    I use the oil because it`s a cheaper option but my daughter has the caps because she hates the taste and texture of oil. I just swig it down with some milk... Don`t think it makes a difference how you take it really.

    Love Pat.
  5. sb439

    sb439 New Member

    (self-ground in coffee grinder/blender in small amounts, then stored in fridge) 1 tsp 3 x a day with meals for about a months (I've been taking EPO for a year, daily), and here's one thing that has happened:
    First time for a long time I have been hardly premenstrual at all, and that's a bliss!!!
    I'm not sure it's the flaxseed oil, but that is the only relevant change I've made to my diet/suppl. recently.
  6. Shirl

    Shirl New Member

    Just read this in 'Prevention' magazine. Here is a little more information;

    Ground Flaxseed will last 90 days, but it must be kept in the refrigerator or freezer.

    If you have whole Flaxseeds in the house, it will last a year at room temperature (no refrigeration is needed).

    Flaxseed oil lasts just 30 days in the refrigerator; its more susceptible to oxidation.

    Shalom, Shirl
  7. Sandyz

    Sandyz New Member

    I`ve always loved the taste of flax since I was a kid and we would go out into my dad`s flax field and pick some and eat it.

    I always knew it was healthy but never knew it was good for so many things. I`m going to have to try some again.
    My husband always puts some in with his cooked oatmeal and it tastes really good.
  8. dolsgirl

    dolsgirl New Member

    that you have to take 18 capsules per day to get what you'd get from taking the liquid form. dolsgirl
  9. Solstice

    Solstice New Member

    Good Morning!

    How does one know if they have mycoplasams? Can it be determined by a blood test? I am seeing a chiropractor Tuesday and starting on JMT and I wonder if he will be able to tell through his testing, which will most likely be kineseology.

    And you mention that there are other alternatives..........can you say what they are? What do you do that is comporable? How are you treating or clearing up the mycoplasams?

    Sorry if not spelling well here. Not quite awake.

    Thanks Jelly, and have a great day.

  10. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    The only reliable test for mycoplasmas is a PCR DNA test and it is only done at certain labs. If you go to Dr. Garth Nicolson's website (do a Yahoo search) it will explain how to get the test done. I believe the Great Smokey Labs also does the tests. Jelly will know when she comes along; she is really our mycoplasma expert.

    Most docs are unaware of mycoplasma infections. I had to print out the info for my PCP and highlight and annotate the info for him. Since we know that my illnesses were triggered by a mycoplasma infection, he decided to just start me on the Doxycycline to see what happened. I had a Herxheimer effect and many of my symptoms disappeared when I started the ABX. I've been on them a little more than a year and plan to try to go off them again mid-May.

    Tests have shown that 60-70 percent of us with FMS/CFIDS are infected with one or more strains of the mycoplasmas. It is impossible for us to heal unless we address our stealth infections. We can also have chronic stealth viral infections and yeast infections.

    Love, Mikie
  11. judywhit

    judywhit New Member

    from constipation? Flax seed! I love this stuff. I buy the whole seed and everyday for lunch I grind about 1/4cup and blend it in with my yogurt. It has a wonderful nutty taste, it fills you up nicely and is wonderful for constipation. Before I found flax I had to take laxatives and this has solved my problem completely. Good post Pat!
  12. PatPalmer

    PatPalmer New Member

    Can`t stress enough how important Flaxseed Oil is in combination with our diet.

  13. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    I have ZERO bowel tolerance for flax. Even 1/8 teaspoon of the oil will cause me to have painful cramps, shivers and shakes and diarreha for 24 hours! I have tried it twice at widely spaced intervals and the reaction is always the same. I have major heart risks and could really use it, but can't.

    The PA at my Rheumy's office told me she had the same reaction that I had to it.

    I do have my husband taking the capsules to see if it will help his OA inflammation.

    I agree this is an excellent supplement.

    I can't take fish oil either, not even with food. After only a month on it, I ended up in the ENT's office with a lazer light snaked down into my throat to see why I had become hoarse and couldn't swallow. It took 2 months for my throat to recover.

    My dad had a heart attack at age 53, and I am 52 1/2. Boy, do I wish I could take this stuff.

    [This Message was Edited on 07/12/2003]
  14. IntuneJune

    IntuneJune New Member

    First of all, I LOVE THIS BOARD!!!!

    And this thread is a perfect example why!!! Thank you Pat for posting and thank you everyone for taking the time to share information!! What a place!!!!

    A little bit ago I bought flaxseed supplements, spur of the moment kind of thing, happened to be by driving by the health food store so stopped in.

    Bought a bottle, lable says Linseed / flaxseed 1250 mg per shot, dosage says 2-4 daily preferably with meals.

    Next, forgot I bought flaxseed.... :( This happens a lot.

    One night, "FOUND" the flaxseed and said--Oh I'll take 2. (no food) Few hours later, went to bed, became nauseated and vomited during the night. To this day, I have an adversion to looking at that bottle.

    Next, friend mentions she just bought the seeds and grinds them. So I am thinking, I will have better control with the dosing, a wee bit at a time. So, am going to try that. I did just start acidophilus so don't want to start two things at once.

    Jellybelly, if one did have an UNdected mycoplasma, would the introduction of flaxseed produce any recognizable "sign we could be on the lookout for?"

    Could anyone further comment on the vomiting after flaxseed -- other than too much too soon?

    Thanks!!!!! Fondly, June
  15. nickname

    nickname New Member

    ........You have me thinking about your heart and arteries now!

    If you can't take the fish oils or flax, have u tried Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) derived naturally from safflowers? It can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels as well as help support cardiovascular health.

    Also flax converts in the body to EPA, but not DHA, and both are vital to help maintain a healthy heart function (as well as brain, nervous system, joints and circulation etc.) The primary source of DHA is fish oil, but if u can't take that, (or are vegetarian) have u tried the new extract of DHA from marine microalgae, which is a naturally high producer of DHA?

    I'm absolutely sure u know about homocysteine levels re arteries/heart etc and folic acid supplementation.

    See how you've got me thinking about u and all your bits and pieces - don't want to lose u - value your no-nonsense approach too much.

    Best wishes

  16. nickname

    nickname New Member

    .......many thanks for that. Gets the old grey matter working does'nt it!!

    Best wishes
  17. averilpam

    averilpam New Member

    my daughter is trying to get pregnant so has stopped taking stuff, including the flax oil - does anyone know if it would be safe for her to keep taking it?
  18. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    Thank you both for your concern!

    Ralph - I have suggested NAET to my holistic doc and hopefully we will get around to it someday....so much to discuss when I see her!

    Nickname - I eat oily, cold water fish two or three times per week, since the actual fish does not bother me at all, only the oil. Fish oil also gave my hubby reflux, and he has never had tummy troubles in his life.

    I took evening primrose oil for many months but it did no seem to help anything.

    I am kind of afraid of all oil supplements now, since I have a lifelong tendency to get the runs, and am officially dx'd with "Rapid Transit of the bowel", meaning food already goes through me too fast to absorb all the nutrients. All oils loosen you up. They are also loaded with calories, and I am a fatty already!

    I will discuss what to do about my awful lipids with the new holistic doctor tomorrow. (I am trying to find a doc closer to where I live) My present holistic doc agrees with most of the alt. medicine docs that cholesterol is a red herring and has almost nothing to do with heart disease. She tells me not to worry, and also says that when I have been on thyroid meds longer, my cholesterol will go back down. (It jumped 60 pts. when I went through menopause, so I am not sure that thyroid is really the problem).

    Yes, I know about homocysteine, and take folic acid and B12. When last tested, my B12 was high normal, and my folate was above normal, and I was warned that it would hurt my kidneys at that level, but I am still taking it, since all the good multi-vitamins have it in them. I eat dark green salad twice a day, every day, so I probably don't need a supp. It was a conventional doc who said it would hurt my kidneys, and if you've read my posts, you already know what I think of most conventional docs,esp. regarding their knowledge of nutrition! :)


    [This Message was Edited on 07/13/2003]
  19. nickname

    nickname New Member

    .........I don't know about flax and planning pregnancy - maybe patpalmer will.

    As far as the fish oils are concerned, I would say that your daughter is right to stop taking them, because the consumer does not know the source and purity of the oil. There's far too much to worry about with polution in the sea, dioxins, PCBs etc. Also cod liver oil specifically, usually contains vit A, and I don't think this is a good idea to take in excess, especially in planning a pregnancy.

    As a by the by for general health, as I see you are in the UK, the Healthspan brand of cod liver oil came out the best in purity from a Governments Food Standard Agency sample of 33 of high street brands.

    As far as fresh fish is concerned, and not supplements, I believe it is said to limit tuna and shark, especially when planning pregnancy/if pregnant/breast feeding because of the high mercury levels found in this type of fish.

    What a minefield! I think though, that your daughter should be guided by what she feels is best, together with the opionion of her doctor.

    With best wishes
  20. PatPalmer

    PatPalmer New Member

    Found this piece of info, so have pasted the lot for you - This is facinating.

    Love Pat.


    Both mothers and fathers need good nutrition to ensure healthy babies. If both are on a healthy diet before conception, one full of natural, unprocessed foods, no other dietary controls are necessary.

    However, most people live on what I call the Great American Experimental Diet of too much refined flour and sugar, and not enough vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. The effects of alcohol, drugs, nicotine, caffeine, and stress during pregnancy have been widely studied. Clearly, it is best for the mother and father to avoid all these things. However, there has not been enough emphasis on preconception nutrition, especially on the nutritional missing link-the Omega-3 fatty acids.

    The essential fatty acids play important roles in helping the fetus to develop properly. One role is in the development of the immune system, which is programmed during fetal life and in the early months after birth. If a pregnant woman eats a diet that overlooks the Omega-3 fatty acids, as commonly happens today, the developing child can suffer illnesses - both mental and physical - related to a weakened immune system, along with other problems.

    Essential fatty acids may play their most important role, though, in the development of the fetal brain. In 1968, Swedish scientist Lars Svennerholm showed that DHA, an important Omega-3 fat, was the major unsaturated fat in the brain, and that the Omega-6 fat ARA was second in prominence. Scientists realized that the fetal brain depended on fatty acids that had to come from the mother, either through her diet or from her own tissues. The fetus, while it could make certain fats, could not create there essential fatty acids by itself.

    As early as 1971, Italian scientist C. Galli and his colleagues emphasized the importance of supplying both Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids in the diets of pregnant women. They said a malnourished fetus who was denied these fats could suffer "significant, perhaps irreversible developmental damage to the brain". These findings have been verified by other studies.

    During the last trimester of pregnancy, the fetus's brain undergoes a tremendous growth spurt, for which large amounts of Omega-3 DHA and Omega-6 ARA are needed. DHA is not only needed in large amounts by the developing brain, but also by the eyes, and, if the baby is a boy, by the testes.

    If you are a parent or planning to become one, why not give your baby the best possible start? Proper nutrition is important for your child to grow and develop normally, and getting adequate amounts of the Omega-3 fatty acids is an important part of proper nutrition.