Should I be taking flaxseed oil pills?

Should I be taking flaxseed oil pills? What about eating regular flaxseed oil? Or eating flaxseeds? Is there any proven benefit, or is it all just conjecture? Wikipedia says

I rarely eat fish, if that matters.

I never eat seafood. My doctor has recommended that I take one flaxseed oil capsule per diem as a dietary supplement.

Keep in mind that the conversion of ALA into EPA/DHA is very inefficient unless you’re eating tons of n-6 (which is probably not healthy).

Also keep in mind that the double bonds in n-3 and n-6 PUFAs render them very susceptible to oxidation. If you decide to take supplements I would make sure they are fresh and stay refrigerated.

Be careful. According to this one guy, you can be told you’re getting flaxseed oil, when, in fact, you’re getting something else entirely.

Personally, I just buy linen and eat that. I’m up to a shirt per week.

Oh, and also the ground flax. You can put it into yogurt, shakes, etc.

Yeah, refrigerate the flaxseed oil/flax seeds, as they may go rancid fast. (I think all liquid oils go rancid eventually, with canola/veggie/olive lasting longer, so some specialty oils are recommended to be kept in the fridge anyway.) I take flaxseed oil gelcaps or eat ground flax, as I’m a vegetarian.

Unless you are a vegetarian, I’d stick with fish oils. They are more properly balanced. If you take them in pill form and keep them in the fridge, you won’t get fishy burps.

Are the fish oil pills and flaxseed oil providing the same nutrients? I am finding it very difficult to keep up with this stuff to any reliable degree. My dad buys flaxseed oil spread from Whole Foods and smears it on toast. I see huge bags of ground flaxseed at Costco, more than I could use in a year. I will start adding more beneficial products to my diet if need be, but I’m not going to be jumping on bandwagons without good reason. On the other hand, taking a capsule a day isn’t like a major lifestyle change, either.

I heard an interview with a diabetes doctor on NPR a couple of weeks ago who is recommending anti-oxidants to his patients for eyesight retention in diabetics, saying there was mounting good study indications of positive benefits. I’m not diabetic, but I’d hate to get old and decrepit knowing all I had to have done was eat more flaxseed oil when I was younger. I eat a fair amount of antioxidant foods, but probably not enough to matter on a regular basis.

I take flax for supplemental omega-3, which is what people taking fish oil are looking for. IIRC there are algae-derived omega-3 pills as well, which is where those fish get the omega-3s in the first place. So if you want a vegetarian option that’s “closer” to the fish oil capsules, look for that.

Flaxseed has fiber, too. Otherwise I’m not aware of anything super-special about flax, off the top of my head.

I started taking fish oil as recommended by my doctor to help reduce cholesterol (I do not eat any fish). I said “what about flaxseed oil?” and she said “well I personally just take the pills that have both flaxseed and fish oil.”

I haven’t had my cholesterol checked since then but I will in a week or two.

When I went to the eye doctor last week for my yearly exam I mentioned I am taking the fish oil (long story but I don’t have the fish + flax pills yet) and his face lit right up. He asked if I was taking them for eye health and I said no, for cholesterol. He said keep taking them because they are great for eye health.

FWIW the bottle I have is “Nature’s Bounty” brand and it says “ORDORLESS” and “PURIFIED TO ELIMINATE MERCURY” and “NO FISH BURPS” right on the bottle. I have never experienced “fish burps” from these.

Oh, and as for flax meal…I keep a 1lb. bag around, in my fridge or freezer. I add it to smoothies if I am making one. My mom adds it to her oatmeal. I got into the habit of having it around when I was “low-carbing.” If nothing else it’s an excellent source of insoluble fiber.

The blood vessels in the inside back wall of your eye can actually show significant cholesterol deposits! Not clogging your eyes’ blood vessels is good for them. :slight_smile: They have other eye-related benefits in terms of helping prevent certain other eye diseases.

I take it because it helps with keratosis pilaris alba* more than anything I’ve ever tried. It doesn’t clear it up entirely, but it’s much worse if I stop taking flaxseed oil.

*annoyingly, even in quotes google mostly gives you pictures of kp rubio. kp alba is white bumps, not red.

Does it help with kp rubio? I have that and haven’t noticed a difference with fish oil, but mine includes a lot of scars.

:frowning: According to the people on one of the forums I read, it helps rubio too. They recommend a huge amount of faxseed oil, though, like 5 tsp a day.

Dr. Kurt Harris recently covered this issue in an excellent post:

http://www.paleonu.com/panu-weblog/2011/3/30/paleo-20-a-diet-manifesto.html

If you are looking for linoleic acid, corn and soybean oil have over 50%. Flax seed oil only has 16%. What we are seeing is a fine marketing effort now that the paint industry no longer uses much linseed oil. Oh, the coconut oil people have their own marketing program.

Best thing is to keep all the fat down, especially partly hydrogenated fats high in trans fats. Remember how good Crisco used to make hydrogenation sound?