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Old 07-02-2010, 08:05 AM   #1
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stevefromsd HB User
What's the deal with Flax Seed Oil?

Does it help your Heart or not? I'm starting to read articles that say placebo studies showed no affect on reducing the chances of Heart Attack or Stroke.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Preliminary evidence supports the idea that deficiencies or imbalances in certain highly unsaturated fatty acids may contribute to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Based on one trial, alpha linolenic acid-rich nutritional supplementation in the form of flax oil may improve symptoms of ADHD. More research is needed to confirm these results. C

Breast cancer (flaxseed, not flaxseed oil)
There is a lack of information from human studies that flaxseed is effective in preventing or treating breast cancer. C

Diabetes (flaxseed, not flaxseed oil)
Human studies on the effect of flaxseed on blood sugar levels report mixed results. Flaxseed cannot be recommended as a treatment for diabetes at this time. C

Dry eye syndrome
Taking flaxseed oil capsules by mouth may reduce dry eyes associated with Sjogren's syndrome patients. C

Heart disease (flaxseed and flaxseed oil)
People who have had a heart attack are reported to benefit from diets rich in alpha-linolenic acid, which is found in flaxseed. Good studies that examine the effect of flaxseed on heart disease in humans are not available. It is unclear whether flaxseed supplementation alters the course of heart disease. C

High blood pressure (flaxseed, not flaxseed oil)
In animals, diets high in flaxseed have mixed effects on blood pressure. One study in humans suggests that flaxseed might lower blood pressure. The evidence in this area is not clear, and more research is needed before a recommendation can be made. C

High cholesterol or triglycerides (flaxseed and flaxseed oil)
In laboratory and animal studies, flaxseed and flaxseed oil are reported to lower blood cholesterol levels. Effects on blood triglyceride levels in animals are unclear, with increased levels in some research, and decreased levels in other research. Human studies in this area report mixed results, with decreased blood levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein ("bad cholesterol") in some studies, but no effect in other studies. Most human research has not been well-designed, and further research is needed before a recommendation can be made. C

HIV/AIDS
There is a lack of strong evidence available in this area, and no recommendation can be made without further research. C

Kidney disease/Lupus nephritis (flaxseed, not flaxseed oil)
There is a lack of strong evidence available in this area. More research is needed before a firm recommendation can be made. C

Laxative (flaxseed, not flaxseed oil)
Early studies in humans suggest that flaxseed can be used as a laxative. However, more information is needed to compare effectiveness and dosing to more commonly used agents. C

Menopausal symptoms
There is preliminary evidence from randomized controlled trials that flaxseed oil may help decrease mild menopausal symptoms. Additional research is necessary before a clear conclusion can be drawn and this remains an area of controversy. Patients should consult a doctor and pharmacist about treatment options before starting a new therapy. Overall effects on bone mineral density and lipid profiles remain unclear. C

Menstrual breast pain (flaxseed, not flaxseed oil)
Early information from one study in women, the results of which have not been fully reported, suggests that flaxseed may reduce menstrual breast pain. However, further study is needed before a recommendation can be made. C

Obesity
There is limited research on the effects of flaxseed flour and its effects in obese patients. C

Pregnancy (spontaneous delivery)
It has been proposed that alpha-linolenic acid, provided as flax oil capsules, may delay the timing of spontaneous delivery, but the available evidence does not support this use. C

Prostate cancer (flaxseed, not flaxseed oil)
There is limited high quality research of the effects of flaxseed or alpha-linolenic acid (which is in flaxseed) on the risk of developing prostate cancer. This area remains controversial as there is some data reporting possible increased risk of prostate cancer with alpha linolenic acid. Prostate cancer should be treated by a medical oncologist. C

Last edited by stevefromsd; 07-02-2010 at 08:08 AM.

 
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Old 07-02-2010, 09:30 AM   #2
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JohnR41 HB UserJohnR41 HB UserJohnR41 HB UserJohnR41 HB UserJohnR41 HB UserJohnR41 HB UserJohnR41 HB UserJohnR41 HB UserJohnR41 HB UserJohnR41 HB UserJohnR41 HB User
Re: What's the deal with Flax Seed Oil?

Your question: "Does it help your heart or not?"

Flaxseed is only one dietary item out of many and no one food by itself is going to do the job of preventing heart disease. You need to look at your overall diet.

There are some good books on this subject:

"The Spectrum" by Dean Ornish M.D.

"The Cardiovascular Cure" By John Cooke, M.D. PhD.

If you follow the general guidelines set forth in the above books, you won't need to worry about flaxseed.

 
Old 07-03-2010, 04:34 PM   #3
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Re: What's the deal with Flax Seed Oil?

Personally, I prefer fish oil over flaxseed oil. I'm not saying it's better, it's just that from what I've read and studied, I picked fish oil.

However, I do believe flaxseed oil does appear to have health benefits. Like John said though, does it help your heart or not isn't really a fair question. I mean, who knows. However, it appears to do things that may benefit your cardiovascular system. If you want to take flaxseed oil, by all means go ahead. You gotta believe in it though to make it worth it. What happens is that you take flaxseed oil, for instance. Then, because you are making a healthy committment and change, you are now likely to do other things that are healthy. And the trend continues. It doesn't matter if flaxseed oil does everything that they say it does; the point is the overall health decisions that you are likely to make that will all combine for one great effect. So I'd say go for it.

 
Old 07-03-2010, 10:33 PM   #4
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Re: What's the deal with Flax Seed Oil?

stevefromsd,

From JohnR41:
Quote:
Flaxseed is only one dietary item out of many and no one food by itself is going to do the job of preventing heart disease. You need to look at your overall diet.
From bdrunner79:
Quote:
It doesn't matter if flaxseed oil does everything that they say it does; the point is the overall health decisions that you are likely to make that will all combine for one great effect.
Flax as seed and oil is just a food. It alone will not cure anything, especially if the rest of the diet is full of processed food-like substances which hinder the body's ability to keep itself healthy. If taking flax as seed or oil starts you on the path of improving your diet overall, then it's a good thing.

I put ground flaxseed in my morning breakfast, and incorporate it in my homemade gluten-free bread. It gives protein, good fats, fiber, and probably lots of vitamins and minerals. I don't expect it to cure anything. I need to maintain a good diet so that my body has the best chance of fighting against health issues.

I have ADD (one of the conditions on your list). I lack certain neurotransmitters in my brain. Flax doesn't provide those missing neurotransmitters. I have a prescription for that. But flax is a part of my overall healthy diet, and I know that when I get too far from the healthy stuff, the ADD symptoms are worse.

I am glad that you are researching the evidence for certain foods (thank you for reporting on your research efforts!), and I'm glad that scientists are attempting to look at them. I just don't think that one specific food is going to cure conditions that may have been caused by an overall unbalanced diet, or that were caused by genetics (ADD in my case).

Thank you for an interesting topic!

--Rheanna

 
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