Flaxseeds also contain phytoestrogens called lignans, which are similar to the hormone estrogen. The fiber in flaxseed is found in the seed coat. When taken before eating, it seems to make people feel less hungry. It might also help limit how much cholesterol the body absorbs from food.
Flaxseed is used for constipation, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, and swelling of the kidneys in people with lupus. It is also used for many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these other uses.
Flaxseed and flaxseed oil have different effects. For information about the oil, see Flaxseed Oil.
Uses & Effectiveness ?
Possibly Effective for
- Constipation. Flaxseed is a good source of dietary fiber. Eating flaxseed in muffins or other foods seems to increase bowel movements in young adults and people with diabetes.
- Diabetes. Taking flaxseed by mouth might slightly improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes. Benefits seem to be greatest with whole or ground flaxseed and when used for at least 12 weeks.
- High cholesterol. Taking flaxseed by mouth seems to help reduce total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol. It seems to work the best in people with high cholesterol. It's unclear if taking flaxseed improves triglyceride levels. Taking flaxseed doesn't seem to improve high-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good") cholesterol levels.
- High blood pressure. Taking flaxseed by mouth may slightly reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
- Breast pain (mastalgia). Eating a flaxseed muffin daily for 3 months or taking flaxseed powder by mouth daily for 2 months seems to reduce breast pain that occurs at the start of the menstrual cycle.
- Obesity. Taking flaxseed by mouth may help reduce body weight, body mass index (BMI), and waist size in adults who are overweight or obese. Taking at least 30 grams of flaxseed daily for at least 12 weeks seems to work best. Flaxseed lignan extract doesn't seem to help.
- Swelling (inflammation) of the kidneys in people with lupus. Taking whole or ground flaxseed by mouth seems to improve kidney function in people with SLE.
Possibly Ineffective for
Taking flaxseed extracts that contain lignans is possibly safe. Flaxseed lignan extracts can be used safely for up to 6 months.
Taking raw or unripe flaxseed by mouth is possibly unsafe. It might be poisonous.
When applied to the skin: Flaxseed is possibly safe when used in a cloth on the skin.
Special Precautions and Warnings
Breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if flaxseed is safe to use when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Hormone-sensitive cancers or conditions: Because flaxseed might act somewhat like the hormone estrogen, it might make hormone-sensitive conditions worse. Some of these conditions include breast and ovarian cancer. Until more is known, avoid taking large amounts of flaxseed if you have one of these conditions.
High triglyceride levels (hypertriglyceridemia): Partially defatted flaxseed, which contains less alpha linolenic acid content, might increase triglyceride levels. If your triglyceride levels are too high, don't take this type of flaxseed.
Surgery: Flaxseed might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using it at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with FLAXSEED
Flaxseed might lower blood sugar levels. Taking flaxseed along with diabetes medications might cause blood sugar to drop too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely.
Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with FLAXSEED
Flaxseed might slow blood clotting. Taking flaxseed along with medications that also slow blood clotting might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.
Antibiotic drugs interacts with FLAXSEED
Bacteria in the intestine convert some of the chemicals in flaxseed into lignans, which are thought to be responsible for many of the possible benefits of flaxseed. However, because antibiotics kill these bacteria, lignans might not be formed as usual. This might alter the effects of flaxseed.
Estrogens interacts with FLAXSEED
Flaxseed can act like the female hormone estrogen. It might compete with drugs that contain estrogen. Flaxseed might make these estrogen-containing drugs less effective.
Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs) interacts with FLAXSEED
Flaxseed might lower blood pressure. Taking flaxseed along with medications that lower blood pressure might cause blood pressure to go too low. Monitor your blood pressure closely.
Be cautious with this combination
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