Flaxseed oil is rich in fatty acids that are good for your health. According to Medline Plus, a website of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Library of Medicine, the alpha-linolenic acid in flaxseed oil is of similar makeup to omega-3 fatty acids. Taking flaxseed oil could give you health improvements in the body systems that include cardiovascular and gastrointestinal functions.
Helps your Heart
Medline Plus reports that those who have suffered a heart attack can benefit from the alpha-linolenic acid found in flaxseed. This fatty acid appears to improve the patient’s recovery. They caution, however, that there is limited availability of studies done on humans and that what is available shows mixed results.
Improves Gastrointestinal Tract
PDR Health website touts flaxseed oil for irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, and inflammation of the stomach and colon. It appears to work especially well as a laxative. Research on flaxseed oil for gastrointestinal disorders still needs to be more complete before beneficial dosing can be established.
Lowers Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
A diet high in flaxseed oil can have varying results on blood pressure, according to Medline Plus. Some evidence suggests it may lower blood pressure in those with hypertension. Inconsistent data have been collected on the effect of flaxseed oil on cholesterol, though a few show flaxseed oil good for you if you have high LDL, also called “bad” cholesterol.
May Stop Cancer
The American Cancer Society acknowledges that flaxseed oil has shown promise in reducing the formation of some cancers, but cautions that the majority of these studies were either done on cells grown in laboratories or on animals. They do point to a few small studies that showed the reduction of prostate cancer in men who supplemented their diet with flaxseed.
Other Possible Benefits
Flaxseed oil may be good for you for several other reasons, including improving the symptoms of attention deficit disorder; reducing blood sugar in diabetics; and increasing bone density in menopausal women. However, little evidence shows these benefits are guaranteed. Flaxseed oil does appear to help reduce the dry eyes of Sjogren’s syndrome patients, according to Medline Plus.
Flaxseed oil is an herbal supplement that may interfere with prescription and over-the-counter medication you may be taking. Flaxseed oil may also cause problems with the results of certain medical tests-such as barium enemas. Discuss the use of flaxseed with your health care professional and make sure your pharmacist is aware that you are using it.