Flaxseed oil, extracted from flax seeds, is sold in capsules, pills or in liquid form. It is a highly beneficial nutritional supplement containing a high quantity of omega-3 fatty acids, especially ALA, alpha-linolenic fatty acid. Nutritionists say that we should include flaxseed oil in our diet because it promotes overall health and treat some conditions. But what does flaxseed oil do exactly? What is flaxseed oil used for? And how to use flaxseed oil? Below you will find the answers.
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What does flaxseed oil do?
The University of Maryland Medical Center informs that flaxseed oil is rich in specific types of essential fats known as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These acids are not produced in the body; we need to receive them from our food. They are both polyunsaturated fats with heart-healthy benefits. They participate in controlling the balance of inflammatory reactions. While omega-6 fatty acids boost the inflammatory process omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation.
Ideally, humans’ diet should include two to four times as much omega-3 as omega-6 fats in order to inhibit inflammatory mechanisms in the body, as the University of Maryland Medical Center reports. However, Western people eat much more omega-6 fatty acids, which may be a reason for the increased number of inflammatory diseases. The high level of omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed oil may provide help to re-balance the proportion of fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed oil include alpha-linolenic acid – ALA that is converted to other acids in the organism, mostly into EPA and DHA essentially needed for the body cells.
What is more, ALA in flaxseed oil may also provide help to suppress the enzyme 5 alpha reductase. This enzyme turns testosterone into the hormone DHT dihydrotestosterone. DHT is androgen, a male hormone, which leads to shrinking of hair follicles. Thus, flaxseed oil prevents reduction of hair bulbs.
Flaxseed oil uses
According to National Institutes of Health, due to the high amount of omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed oil it is used for:
- Lowering blood pressure, blood cholesterol, for blood thinning, that helps prevent heart disease and heart attack;
- Reducing inflammation in the cells;
- Hair moisturizing, eliminating dandruff and prevention of hair loss;
- Energy production and other.
SEE ALSO: Flaxseed Oil and Weight Loss
How to use
Flaxseed oil is available in the form of liquid oil or flaxseed oil capsules, pills and tablets. Liquid flaxseed oil is usually added to salad dressings or to the dishes after they are cooked.
Omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed oil are damaged at high temperatures. When heated the oil can become harmful. So never fry with flaxseed oil. You may simply take one or two capsules per day and you will receive the necessary amount of flaxseed oil.
Some experts say not to take flaxseed oil with any meals because it hinders the absorption of nutrients. Flaxseed oil shouldn’t be consumed together with medications because of possible interactions and slow absorption of drugs. Flaxseed oil is a blood thinner and taken together with anticoagulant drugs may induce excess bleeding.
Sometimes the incorrect intake of flaxseed oil and its overdose can convert flaxseed oil benefits into its side effects. Talk to your doctor about the dosage needed for you to avoid unpleasant and sometimes dangerous side effects of flaxseed oil such as excessive bleeding, premature birth, diarrhea and stomach upset.
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