Skip to content
    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Flaxseed

    Flaxseed has been used as a traditional food and remedy in Mediterranean cultures for thousands of years. It's now popular in the U.S. for many different health conditions. Flaxseed oil is made from crushed flaxseed. It shares some -- but not all -- of flaxseed's health properties.

    Why do people take flaxseed?

    Flaxseed and flaxseed oil contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a precursor to the essential omega-3 fatty acid that partly and inefficiently converts into DHA and EPA -- more active omega-3s -- in the body. While flaxseed hasn't yet been shown to improve heart disease risk, there's good evidence that flaxseed and flaxseed oil may lower cholesterol levels.

    Ground flaxseed -- but not flaxseed oil -- may also help with menopausal symptoms. Research has shown that 40 grams per day may be similar to hormone therapy for improving mild menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats. Ground flaxseed may also ease constipation.

    Flaxseed has also been shown to improve kidney function in people with lupus. If you have lupus -- or any other medical condition -- it's very important to talk with your doctor about any supplements you take.

    Flaxseed oil, like fish oil, has been studied for lowering triglycerides. However, it is necessary to ingest a lot of flaxseed oil (38-60 grams) to have any noticeable effects.

    Flaxseed is being studied for many other conditions, ranging from cancer to diabetes to osteoporosis. At this point, there is not enough evidence to support flaxseed for these conditions.

    How much flaxseed should you take?

    There is no set dose of flaxseed. In studies of people with high cholesterol, 40 to 50 grams of flaxseed per day has been used; 15 grams for improving kidney function in people with lupus; 40 grams for mild menopause symptoms. Flaxseed must be ground prior to ingestion or it won’t work for these conditions. Ask your doctor for advice. In order to lower triglycerides, 38-60 grams of flaxseed oil daily has been used.

    Flaxseed can be mixed with liquid or food, such as muffins or bread. To be absorbed, however, it must me ground before using it to allow the oils to be available. Some people use a small coffee grinder to grind daily doses as needed.

    Hot Topics

    WebMD Video: Now Playing

    Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

    Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

    disciplining a boy
    Types, symptoms, causes.
    fruit drinks
    Eat these to think better.
    embarrassed woman
    Do you feel guilty after eating?
    diabetes supply kit
    Pack and prepare.
    Balding man in mirror
    Treatments & solutions.
    birth control pills
    Which kind is right for you?
    Remember your finger
    Are you getting more forgetful?
    sticky notes on face
    10 tips to clear your brain fog.
    Close up of eye
    12 reasons you're distracted.
    Trainer demonstrating exercise for RA
    Exercises for your joints.
    apple slices with peanut butter
    What goes best with workouts?
    Pink badge on woman chest to support breat cancer
    Myths and facts.

    Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

    It's nothing to sneeze at.

    Loading ...

    Sending your email...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    Women's Health Newsletter

    Find out what women really need.