Benefits Of Flax Seed Oil

Flax Seed Oil is a rich plant source of essential Omega 3 fatty acid and it is a must have food supplement for vegetarians and vegans. Fatty Acids (FA) are found in cell membranes of every single cell in the body and produce hormone-like substances. These substances play part in energy metabolism, heart and arterial health, brain function, flexible joints, etc. Flax Seed Oil contain a good balance of Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids:

  • Alpha Linoleic Acid (Omega 3) converts into EPA and DHA, supporting healthy heart, arteries,  brain and flexible joints. It lowers triglycerides and cholesterol levels, decreases blood pressure, platelet stickiness and fibrinogen levels.
  • Linoleic Acid (Omega 6) converts into Gamma Linoleic Acid (GLA), supporting healthy hormone balance, skin, circulation, nerve function and immune system.
  • Oleic Acid (Omega 9) supports cardiovascular health and immune system functioning.

Flax Seed Oil is also a natural source of complete Vitamin E, vitamin A and mixed carotenoids.

There is approximately 50-65% of Alpha Linoleic Acid (ALA) in Flax Seed oil. The conversion rate of  ALA to EPA and DHA  (bio-available forms of Omega 3) is quite low. Between 8 and 20 percent of ALA is converted to EPA and just 0.5 to 9 percent of ALA is converted to DHA, but since vegetarians and vegans do not eat fish Flax Seed Oil is pretty much the only way to get Omega 3 to their diet. Since the conversion relies on certain nutrients and enzymes, individuals lacking these may benefit from higher intake of Flax Seed oil.

Organic Flax Seed (or Linseed) Oil is available in most health food stores. When buying oil, make sure it is unrefined and cold pressed. It is not suitable for heating and must be refrigerated after opening. With a pleasant nutty taste, this cholesterol free oil is a great addition to salads, dressings, smoothies and cereals, soups and pasta. So forget olive oil – use flax instead, even if you do eat fish.

It is also available in capsules, but I personally wouldn’t advise buying them unless needed for convenience. Liquid oil is much more stable and pure and requires lower intake than capsules. This is because it is impossible to fit a few teaspoons into one capsule and the conversion rate of Alpha Linoleic Acid from Flax Seed Oil requires higher intake. As a result, you might need to swallow up to 6 or more capsules a day! Not ideal, especially if  taking other supplements or medication.

My personal favorite is Viridian Golden flax Seed Oil. Brands like Higher Nature, Udo’s Choice and Clearspring produce a good quality oil too. Udo’s choice recommend to take 3-4 dessertspoons daily, while Higher Nature advise to take 1-2 teaspoons, so you need to compare the quantity of nutriends inside and decide which brand to go for.

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