This question and answer page is a follow-up to my article – Why You Should Be Adding Flaxseed and Flaxseed Oil To Your Diet
With so many questions regarding flaxseed and flaxseed oil I decided to compile a list of the most common ones.
This will provide a quick reference point for a lot of common questions.
If you have any more questions, please add them to the comments section.
1. What Are The Differences Between Flaxseed and Flaxseed Oil?
2. Is It Safe To Take Flax Seed and Flaxseed Oil?
3. Why Does Flaxseed Need to be Ground/Milled?
4. How Long Does Whole Flaxseed Keep For?
5. What Is Flax Meal?
6. How Much Flaxseed Should I Take Daily?
7. What is the Difference Between Golden and Brown Flaxseed?
8. Is Flaxseed Safe for Young Children and Toddlers?
9. Is Flaxseed Good for Constipation?
10. What Is Flaxseed Oil Good For?
11. What’s The Difference Between Flaxseed Oil and Flax Oil?
12. What Do I Eat Flaxseed Oil With?
13. What Does Flaxseed Oil Taste Like?
14. Does Flaxseed Oil Interfere With Other Supplements and Medicine?
15. What’s the Difference Between Flaxseed Oil, Flaxseed Tablets and Flaxseed Soft Gels?
16. How Much Flaxseed Oil Should I Take?
17. How Many Milligrams of Omega 3 Are In A Tablespoon of Flaxseed Oil?
18. What Is the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) For Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
19. Do Flaxseed Oil Supplements Cause Oily Skin?
20. Is Flaxseed Oil Beneficial To Add To My Daily Vitamin Intake?
21. Can I Put Flaxseed Oil In Baby Formula?
22. Can Flaxseed Oil Reduce Acne?
23. Is Flaxseed Oil Good For My Joints?
24. Can I Take Flaxseed Oil and Fish Oil Together?
25. What Is the Best Form of Flaxseed Oil?
26. What Nutrients Does Flaxseed Oil Contain?
27. Do I Need to Take Flaxseed Oil Supplements With Food?
28. Fish Oil or Flaxseed Oil for My Dog with Arthritis?
29. Can You Substitute Vegetable Oil With Flaxseed Oil?
30. Does Flaxseed Oil Work As a Blood Thinner?
31. Which Is Better, Flaxseeds or Flaxseed Oil?
32. Will Flaxseed Oil Help Me Lose Weight?
What Are The Differences Between Eating Flaxseed and Flaxseed Oil?
The main difference between flaxseeds and flaxseed oil is the concentration of essential fatty acids.
Flaxseed oil is made purely by ‘pressing’ the seeds to release their oils. The healthiest method of doing this is known as ‘cold pressing’ which means the oil is extracted without using heat.
This concentration of flaxseed oil contains high amounts of fats. A 100 gram serving will provide the following breakdown:
Saturated fat – approx 10 grams
Polyunsaturated fat – approx 70 grams
Monounsaturated fat – approx 20 grams
It is the polyunsaturated fats that our diets lack the most of, and flaxseed oil has the highest concentration than any other food source.
Just over a tablespoon of flaxseed oil will provide you with over 100% of your daily recommended dose of omega 3 fatty acids.
Flaxseed should not be overlooked however, as the seeds provide a whole host of nutrients and cancer fighting lignans. (Back to Top)
Is It Safe To Take Flax Seed and Flaxseed Oil?
Yes, there is nothing wrong with consuming both the flax seed and the oil.
You’ll get the benefit of excellent amounts, and proportions of omega 3, 6 and 9 essential fatty acids through the oil.
Flax seeds are a ‘complete food’ providing the same essential fatty acids (although in lower doses) plus vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and lignans. Approx 40% of flaxseed is oil. (Back to Top)
Why Does Flaxseed Need to be Ground/Milled?
As with most grains and seeds, if they are not ground first they will mostly pass through your body providing little nutritional benefit.
The flaxseed shell provides a protective coating around the kernel.
When this shell is broken through grinding or roasting, the nutrients and other compounds from the seed are released and digested in the body.
Flaxseeds are easy to grind at home using a coffee grinder, food processor or blender. It takes about 2 to 3 seconds and you’re done.
I’ve been using a great little coffee and spice grinder for a while now (the one that is shown here) and it does the job perfectly.
However, whole flax seeds can be used in recipes such as breads and cookies. (Back to Top)
How Long Does Whole Flaxseed Keep For?
Whole flaxseed will keep fresh for 2 – 3 years if stored in a cool, dry place. (Back to Top)
What Is Flax Meal?
Flax meal or milled flaxseed is simply whole flaxseed that has been ground down, ready to eat. Once flaxseed is ground it will keep for approx 3 months if refrigerated. (Back to Top)
How Much Flaxseed Should I Take Daily?
There is no recommended daily allowance for consuming flaxseed.
According to Dr Lilian Thompson Ph.d from the University of Toronto – an original pioneer in the study of flaxseed and its health benefits, states that “One tablespoon of ground flaxseed a day may provide some health benefits in some cases and is most likely safe”.
For the average adult consuming 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed a day will not incur any ill effects.
And yet could potentially have a very significant impact, including many health benefits such as those already mentioned. (Back to Top)
What is the Difference Between Golden and Brown Flaxseed?
Golden and brown flaxseed provides the same nutritional value. Producers are growing the golden variety as a way of making it look more appealing. (Back to Top)
Is Flaxseed Safe for Young Children and Toddlers?
Flaxseed comes from a natural plant source containing many beneficial nutrients and is considered safe for people of all ages.
I would suggest starting with just a teaspoon daily for young children. (Back to Top)
Is Flaxseed Good for Constipation?
Yes, it has been shown that flaxseed works well for people suffering from constipation, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Flaxseed is high in fiber and a high-fiber diet helps you have soft, regular bowel movements, reducing constipation.
It also acts as a scrub brush, cleaning the bacteria in the intestines and reduces the risk of colon cancer.
For people with chronic diarrhea or IBS, flaxseed will add substance to your stool. (Back to Top)
What Is Flaxseed Oil Good For?
New research is being conducted all the time and more evidence is being found as to the health benefits of flaxseed oil.
The most significant by-product of flaxseed oil if the essential fatty acids it contains in the form of Omega 3 and Omega 6.
Flaxseed oil is rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is one of the Omega 3 fatty acids.
ALA provides a number of health benefits and the body is able to convert some of it into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) all of which are nutritionally important Omega 3 fatty acids.
Omega 3 fatty acid (also known as polyunsaturated fat) is an ‘essential’ fatty acid, which means the body cannot produce it itself and must be consumed through food.
An estimated 99% of Americans are deficient in Omega 3.
Flaxseed oil is the world’s most abundant food source of Omega 3 fatty acids, containing more than twice as much as fish oil.
The symptoms of Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency are often diagnosed as other health problems or nutrient deficiency.
More often than not, most people (including their physicians) will be unaware their symptoms are related to Omega 3 deficiency.
Omega-3 Deficiency Symptoms Include:
- Dry itchy skin
- Brittle hair and nails
- Frequent colds
- Poor concentration
- Lack of energy
- Joint pain
The goods news is that consuming the recommended daily dose of Omega 3 fatty acids (especially those found in flaxseed oil which also contains ALA) can help prevent and treat a number of health conditions including:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Cardiovascular disease
- Dry eyes
- High blood pressure
- Huntington’s disease
- Migraine headaches
- Multiple sclerosis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sjogren’s syndrome
What’s The Difference Between Flaxseed Oil Flax Oil and Linseed Oil?
Despite the different way it is refered to, they all mean the same thing. (Back to Top)
What Do I Eat Flaxseed Oil With?
You don’t need to eat anything with flaxseed oil and can drink it straight from the bottle if you wish. It has quite a strong nutty flavor and is not to everyone’s taste.
If the taste is too much for you then here are some ways to add flaxseed oil to your diet:
- Add it to smoothies
- Make it into a salad dressing by adding some fresh lemon juice
- Spread it on toast to replace margarine or butter
- Add it to yoghurt
- Add it to cooked cereals such as porridge oats
As long as you don’t cook with flaxseed oil you can add it to anything you like. High temperatures will destroy much of the healthy fatty acids and nutrients.
If you like the taste of ground flaxseeds then here’s some ways you can add it to foods:
- Sprinkle it on your cereal or porridge
- Add it to salads
- Add it to soups
- Add it to yoghurt
- Add it as an ingredient to your bread, cookie, and muffin recipes.
Sprinkle some onto your smoothies
What Does Flaxseed Oil Taste Like?
Flaxseed oil has a strong nutty flavor and slightly buttery taste. (Back to Top)
Does Flaxseed Oil Interfere With Other Supplements and Medicine?
It is not so much that flaxseed oil will interfere with other supplements and medicine, but more likely that the essential fatty acids within flaxseed oil will act in a similar way to certain medications.
They may very well enhance and even improve the performance of supplements and medicines.
Such medication that might need to be considered are:
- Blood Thinning Medications (Anticoagulants)
- Blood Sugar Lowering Medications
- Cholesterol Lowering Medications such as Statins
It is always advisable to consult with a physician regarding the combined effects of certain medications and adding flaxseed oil to your diet.
But in many cases, especially if you are taking statins (that often come with horrible side effects), you may actually respond better by eliminating the prescribed drugs and increasing your flaxseed oil intake. (Back to Top)
What’s The Difference Between Flaxseed Oil, Tablets and Soft Gels?
Flaxseed oil comes as a liquid form in a bottle. It is more readily absorbed into the body as a liquid and has a higher concentration of Omega 3 fatty acids. One tablespoon provides around 6000 mg of Omega 3 fats.
Some brands of flaxseed oil also add lignan particles that are usually lost from the seeds during processing.
Lignans have been shown to benefit heart and hormonal health. The brand I recommend that include lignans in their oil is Barlean’s Flax Oil.
Flaxseed tablets and soft gels come in plastic bottles and usually have enough for 60, 90 or 180 days, depending on how many you take.
The concentration of Omega 3 is usually 1000 mg per capsule although might be less in tablet form.
Although not as concentrated as oil, soft gels and tablets still provide good levels of Omega 3 and are much more convenient to consume.
Overall though, flaxseed oil contains a lot more Omega 3 and is absorbed into the blood stream much more efficiently than other forms. (Back to Top)
How Much Flaxseed Oil Should I Take?
Depending on what you are taking flaxseed oil for you can safely consume 2 – 4 tablespoons each day.
For fit and well adults just a couple of teaspoons or 2 to 3 capsules a day is enough to provide you with the recommended dose of essential fatty acids plus other health promoting nutrients.
For anyone treating specific medical conditions, such as those listed above, the dose should be increased depending on your current diet and the kind of condition you have. (Back to Top)
How Many Milligrams Of Omega 3 Is In A Tablespoon Of Flaxseed Oil?
One tablespoon of flaxseed oil has approximately 6-7 grams of Omega 3 fatty acids. (Back to Top)
What Is The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) For Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
There is no Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for omega-3 fatty acids, but you should try to consume at least one gram a day. (Back to Top)
Do Flaxseed Oil Supplements Cause Oily Skin?
Flaxseed oil is good for the skin as it acts as a natural lubricant especially for dry and aging skin.
There is no evidence to suggest it causes oily skin, although people who already have oily skin may find the fatty acids in flaxseed oil exasperate the condition. (Back to Top)
Is Flaxseed Oil Beneficial To Add To My Daily Vitamin Intake?
Taking multi-vitamins/minerals is a good idea for many people who can’t obtain all their nutrients from their diet – and let’s face it, most of us can’t!
Essential fatty acids found in flaxseed oil are often overlooked and yet play such an important role in our overall health. (Back to Top)
Can I Put Flaxseed Oil In Baby Formula?
Flaxseed oil can be used as a natural laxative for babies with constipation.
Adding 1 teaspoon to a baby’s milk formula may help.
As long as your baby is not receiving other medication that might interact with the flaxseed then this natural, temporary supplement is fine. (Back to Top)
Can Flaxseed Oil Reduce Acne?
There are a number of reasons why someone gets acne and often it is a combination of things.
Most people’s diets are too rich in Omega 6 fatty acids which can cause inflammation.
Adding more Omega 3 into our diet may help to reduce the amount of Omega 6 and so help to reduce inflammation which can cause acne.
Naturally there is a lot of information for acne cures on the internet and an excellent resource to check out is acne.org.
It is run by a guy called Dan Kern, a long time acne sufferer and he has a section called Flaxseed Oil Reviews which has people’s honest and unbiased opinions on whether flaxseed oil has helped them cure their acne.
Reading many of these reviews it seems that taking flaxseed oil does help a lot of acne sufferers.
Many of these people have also noticed other benefits such as healthier looking hair and nails. (Back to Top)
Is Flaxseed Oil Good For My Joints?
Omega 3 fatty acids have long been heralded as an effective anti-inflammatory treatment.
Joint pain and arthritis have been shown to greatly benefit from higher consumption of flaxseed oil.
There is an old saying that flaxseed oil “oils your joints”- and for good reason! Try taking a tablespoon of flaxseed oil 3 times a day. (Back to Top)
Can I Take Flaxseed Oil And Fish Oil Together?
There are no health reasons why you can’t take fish oil and flaxseed oil together, although they both work in virtually identical ways so there seems little point in doing so.
My personal opinion and after considerable research, I wouldn’t take fish oil tablets – period. (Back to Top)
What Is The Best Form Of Flaxseed Oil?
Flaxseed oil, rather than ground flaxseed or soft gels provide you with much more Omega 3.
One tablespoon of oil provides around 6 grams of Omega 3s compared to 1 gram per soft gel supplement.
The best type of oil should be cold pressed to retain the oils nutritional value and flavor. It should also be labeled as unrefined and organic.
Make sure the bottle is dark as flaxseed oil can be destroyed by light and heat.
This particular brand also adds the flaxseed’s lignans which are a form of antioxidant and amongst other health benefits, may help protect against certain cancers. (Back to Top)
What Nutrients Does Flaxseed Oil Contain?
Flaxseed oil is primarily a rich source of essential fatty acids – namely alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is one of the fatty acids that make up Omega-3.
The body also converts ALA into 2 other fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), both of which are also components of Omega-3.
As well as the best source of Omega-3 you can find flaxseed oil also contains a good balance of Omega 6 and vitamin E.
Some flaxseed oil products also include nutrient-rich lignans that are in the flax seeds but usually lost in the processing. (Back to Top)
Do I Need To Take Flaxseed Oil Supplements With Food?
You don’t need to take flaxseed oil supplements with food; it just helps with the absorption process if you do. (Back to Top)
Fish Oil or Flaxseed Oil For My Dog With Arthritis?
Giving either flaxseed oil or fish oil to your pet dog or cat can only improve their health.
However, flaxseed oil is slightly cheaper, doesn’t give your dog a fishy breath and has more Omega 3 benefits than fish oil. (Back to Top)
Can You Substitute Vegetable Oil With Flaxseed Oil?
No, you should not cook with flaxseed oil. Its compounds will be destroyed at high temperatures and will turn rancid. (Back to Top)
Does Flaxseed Oil Work As A Blood Thinner?
You shouldn’t take flaxseed oil to be used as a blood thinner. I have not found any credible evidence to suggest otherwise. (Back to Top)
Which Is Better For Your Health – Flaxseeds or Flaxseed Oil?
I don’t think one is better than the other, although flaxseeds contain other nutrients including more lignans than flaxseed oil.
Flaxseed oil contains a greater concentration of Omega 3 fatty acids (more than twice as much as seeds) although is more expensive.
There are also more options of adding flaxseeds to foods and recipes.
The best option is to consume both flaxseeds and flaxseed oil. Just half the measures so you don’t take too much. (Back to Top)
Will Flaxseed Oil Help Me Lose Weight?
First of all, flaxseed oil is not going to help you lose weight if your overall diet is high in sugar, unhealthy fats and processed foods.
The reason it can benefit a lifestyle geared towards losing weight is 2 fold:
1. Whole and ground flaxseeds contain good amounts of dietary fiber which helps the digestive system and keeps you regular. It also makes you feel fuller for longer, which will help curb sweet cravings.
2. Flaxseed oil is converted to compounds that increase the body’s metabolic rate. The body’s cells produce more heat and burn more fuel (calories). (Back to Top)
If you have any questions that aren’t covered here, please drop them below in the comments box or contact me.