A look into flaxseed oil side effects

November 12, 2012

A look into flaxseed oil side effects

Flax seed oil is very high in the omega-3 fatty acid, called alpha linolenic acid. This essential acid has many health benefits including the reduction in inflammation, lowering the risk of blood clots and improving concentration and brain function. Supplementing your diet with this natural oil would certainly not be a bad thing. What many people don’t know however is the flaxseed oil side effects that can occur if taken in too large quantities. There have been conflicting studies looking into whether flax seed oil, and more specifically the alpha linolenic acid, ALA, found in flax seed, has a positive or negative effect in preventing breast cancer. While some studies have produced results suggesting that high amounts of ALA increase the risk of breast cancer whilst other studies found that breast tumours grew more slowly in women who ate muffins containing ground flax seed. No definitive conclusions can be taken from these studies and this area should be looked into further to determine whether or not this should be considered one of the flaxseed oil side effects. Some researchers claim that flaxseed oil can affect the bloods ability to clot efficiently. This should be an area of concern for anyone taking blood-thinning medications like Coumadin or aspirin and medical advice should be sought before adding flaxseed oil to their regular diet.

Another of the potential flaxseed oil side effects may occur during pregnancy and is caused by the presence of phyto-estrogens, which are thought to encourage menstruation. This may cause a conflict of chemicals in your body and be harmful to the pregnancy. Large amounts of flaxseed seemed to affect the reproductive system when tested on animals. It is also unsure if these phyto-estrogens will have nay effect on a nursing baby. There have not been any conclusive studies in this area, so consult your doctor or avoid taking the oil if you are unsure.

Flax seed oil is a cold oil, which should be kept cold or at room temperature at all times. Most manufacturers recommend that you keep the bottle in the fridge; especially once it has been opened. If it is exposed to sunlight or warm temperatures for any reason, throw it out immediately. When it is heated up, it becomes rancid and if exposed to high temperatures, such as cooking temperatures benzenes are created, which are a cancer-causing agent. Obviously this is one of the more serious of the flaxseed oil side effects. Use the oil in cold foods such as salads or shakes and smoothies.

Many of these potential flaxseed oil side effects have not been confirmed and can be avoided by using common sense when supplementing your diet with flaxseed oil. Contact your doctor or health care provider if you have any specific concerns but otherwise as long as it is not used excessively, flaxseed oil should be a healthy addition to your diet.

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