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Can Flax Seed Oil Capsules Go Bad?

author image Deila Taylor
Deila Taylor received a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Occidental College with graduate work towards a Ph.D. in pharmacology and nutrition at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. Taylor has written for LoopLane, The Nutrition Counselor, Eve Out of the Garden and produces interviews for The Mormon Women Project. She is a member of the American Society for Nutrition.
Can Flax Seed Oil Capsules Go Bad?
A pile of flax seed oil capsules. Photo Credit KingaKy/iStock/Getty Images

Flax seed oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids. It is available in capsules and bottles at grocery stores and health food stores. However, flax seed oil capsules, like any oil, can become rancid. Always check the expiration date on the bottle before purchasing and use them before they become old.


Flax seed oil is extracted from whole flax seeds by cold-pressing, which does not use heat or solvents in the process. Usually, a screw press is used to press the seeds, extracting the flax seed oil. Some manufacturers add lignans back to the oil capsules; check the label for more information. Canada is the largest supplier of whole flax seeds; China is second.


Flax seed oil contains alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, the essential omega-3 fatty acid, but does not contain the lignans and fiber of the whole or ground flax seeds. One tablespoon of flax seed oil, approximately 14 g, contains 124 calories,14 g of fat and 8 g of ALA. Capsules will vary in size and grams, but a 5 g capsule, or 1 tsp., contains 44 calories, 5 g of fat and 2.8 g of ALA. Check the bottle for specific amounts.

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Omega-3 Fatty Acid

Omega-3 fatty acids are considered necessary fatty acids that the body cannot produce, but must be supplied through diet. They play an important part in normal growth and development and brain function. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may lower your risk of heart disease, arthritis and cancer, according to The University of Maryland Medical Center. The omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation, should be in balance with omega-6 fatty acids, which tend to promote inflammation. It is believed that the American diet supplies 14 to 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3. This may be one reason that supplements are helpful.


Store flax seed capsules in a dark bottle at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Flax seed oil is available in soft-gel capsules and in bottles as a liquid form. Flax seed oil can become rancid because it is sensitive to heat, oxygen and light. Look for packaging that protects the oil from these elements, such as dark bottles and boxes. Do not use products that have expired.

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