Flaxseed Supplement Review

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  Evaluated for:
Effectiveness Rating Effectiveness Rating
Prevention of coronary heart disease
0 (Effectiveness Unclear)
Supplementation for general health purposes
0 (Effectiveness Unclear)


  • Studies suggest that increased omega-3 intake in plant-based form (alpha-linolenic acid) decreases the risk of coronary heart disease.
  • Our bodies partially convert alpha-linolenic acid (the omega-3 in flax) to the omega-3’s found in fish oils (EPA and DHA), which have demonstrated additional health benefits.
  • The standard American diet, which contains a significant proportion of unprocessed food, delivers a large amount of omega-6 fatty acids. Flaxseed tips the balance in a more favorable direction.


  • While studies do suggest that omega-3’s have strong health benefits for the prevention of coronary heart disease, none have yet proven that alpha-linolenic acid itself is responsible.
  • Ground flaxseed can cause diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms.
  • Taking fish oil for heart health might make more sense than taking flaxseed oil, which is not completely converted to EPA and DHA, the more active types of omega-3 fatty acids.

Flaxseed (not flaxseed oil) may interfere with absorption of other medications, vitamins, and minerals. It should be taken an hour before or two hours after meals to avoid this problem.

CONCLUSION:Flaxseed has been used for many different reasons and most of the research is inconclusive. Where fish oil is available, it is a better choice for preventing heart disease.

“Flaxseed Oil.” ConsumerLab.com. ConsumerLab.com LLC, 2013. 3 August 2013
“Flaxseed and Flaxseed Oil.” Natural Standard –The Authority on Integrative Medicine. Natural Standard, 2013.
“Flaxseed.” Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2013. 8 November 2013.

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