Learn About Flaxseed Oil Side Effects

November 12, 2012

Learn About Flaxseed Oil Side Effects

Flaxseed oil, also marketed as linseed oil, is one of the few vegetarian sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. There is debate among medical researchers and nutritionists if the fatty acids in flaxseed oil are just as nutritious as those in fish. But so far, no definitive study exists that proves which is more nutritious.

Flaxseed oil is like cod liver oil in that it is not used as a cooking oil but swallowed in capsule or liquid form. Flaxseed oil is prescribed or suggested by doctors to patients who need to lower their cholesterol or who suffer from Sjoren’s syndrome. There are also some promising studies suggesting that flaxseed oil may protect against breast cancer and heart disease.

Possible Side Effects

Linseed oil has very few detrimental flaxseed oil side effects unless you are allergic to it, but can interact badly with certain medications. Before taking flaxseed oil or any other nutritional supplement, talks with your doctor first and make sure he or she has a current list of all medications and vitamins that you are taking.

One of the alarming flax seed side effects is that it can cause miscarriage in animals. It is possible that it may do the same to pregnant women. Another strange but little studied of flaxseed oil side effects is that, contrary to other studies, increase a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer.

Common but non-life threatening flax seed oil side effects includes gas and diarrhea. These tend to go away as the body gets used to flaxseed oil. Taking too much flaxseed oil may result in loose stools and stomach upset. Never drink foul-smelling flaxseed oil because it could be rancid. Drinking rancid flaxseed oil can result in vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Interactions with Medications

Bothersome flaxseed oil side effects listed in medical literature include badly interacting with numerous medications. The most serious interaction is with blood thinning medications, which may cause a person to bleed copiously even from a small scratch, and diabetes medications, because flaxseed oil may unpredictably change glucose levels or render medication less effective.

Flaxseed oil side effects also include some beneficial interactions with certain medications. The flaxseed oil seems to strengthen the medication or lessen the chance for developing severe side effects like ulcers from medications. These medications include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen or ibuprofen

  • Topical steroid lotions or ointments

  • Topical eterinate skin creams or lotions

  • Cholesterol lowering medications

  • Cyclosporine, a drug given to organ transplant patients.

Flaxseed Allergy

Some people are allergic to any part of flaxseeds, including the oil. These flaxseed oil side effects disappear after the person stop drinking flaxseed oil. Common flaxseed oil allergy symptoms include hives or rashes on the skin; itchy or watery eyes; sudden problems breathing; diarrhea; runny or heavily congested nose. If any other strange symptom not listed here develops soon after swallowing flaxseed oil, contact a doctor right away.

Schizophrenics and diabetics should avoid taking flaxseed oil because they simply may be unable to digest it. They need to get omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids from other sources, such as cod liver oil.


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