Herbal Supplements
Flax Seed and Flax Seed Oil: Where is the Difference?

Flax Seed and Flax Seed Oil are herbal remedies, both made from an annual plant Linum usitatissimum. Flaxseed oil is derived from the seeds of the flax plant. Flaxseed oil and flaxseed contain substances that promote good health. For those benefits you can use either one, or another, or flax seed oil supplements. You should know some differences between these products, in order to use them properly for the better result.

Content

Flaxseed contains high concentrations of lignans, and Omega-3 fatty acids; as well as soluble and insoluble fiber. It also contains 25% of protein.

Flaxseed oil is extremely rich in fatty acids (30—45%, of which there is 40 to 70 % of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), 10 to 25% of linoleic acid and 13 to 30% of oleic acid. But it doesn’t contain the fiber found in flaxseed.

Medical benefits

The most commonly known usage of the Flaxseed is as a laxative (due to its dietary fiber content). Orally it is used for chronic constipation, colon damage, gastritis, irritable colon, and hypercholesterolemia. It is also used for hot flashes, burns, scalds, and other types of skin irritation (when used topically in preparations); and breast pain. Flaxseeds may also lessen the severity of diabetes by stabilizing blood-sugar levels.

Some facts to know: in the USA flaxseed is regulated only as an herbal dietary supplement (do not confused with denatured flaxseed, which is toxic to humans), and is not FDA-approved for any other use; when in Germany it is an approved bulk laxative and topical poultice.

Alpha-linolenic acid in Flaxseed oil is extremely beneficial for heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis and a variety of other health conditions, such as high blood pressure, burns, acne, depression and menstrual pain.

For some conditions both products are acceptable and beneficial. Such as cancer and high cholesterol levels problem. It may be due to the content of lignans and fatty acids that possess anti-cancer properties and found to reduce growth in specific types of tumors. Some studies show the benefits to prostate cancers as well.

Available Forms

You can find Flaxseeds on the market in two basic varieties: brown and yellow or golden. The both type of seeds are equal in containing omega-3 fatty acids and have similar nutritional values. The yellow flax (called Linola or Solin) contains very little of omega-3 and has a completely different oil profile. The highest quality flaxseed products are manufactured using fresh pressed seeds, bottled in dark or opaque containers.

Flaxseed oil is available in liquid and soft gel capsule form. Make sure you buy flaxseed oil supplements made by established companies who certify that their products are free of heavy metals (mercury, for example). Flaxseed oil is most often used in a liquid form, which contains approximately 7 grams of ALA per 15-milliliter tablespoon and may contain approximately 130 calories. In a capsule form it contains 500 milligrams of alpha-linolenic acid per 1000-milligram capsule (10 calories).

Storage

The product (ground whole seeds or oils) becomes rancid upon exposure to oxygen, so it requires special storage to remain nutritious. It also requires special packaging because it is easily destroyed by heat and light. The best place for these products is refrigerator or in sealed packaging. Keep flaxseed oil refrigerated in an opaque (non-transparent) bottle. Whole flaxseed can be stored for up to one year in a dry location. Keep ground flaxseed in a refrigerator for three months or in a freezer for six months. Flaxseed oil and powder/flour will break down at high temperatures, such as in cooking.

Usage

The dosage to prevent and treat disease will vary depending on the amount of fatty acids in the diet and the type of the illness or condition. But remember, that different brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. So, you should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting taking some.

Whole or crushed flaxseed can be mixed with water or juice and taken by mouth. Generally, one tablespoon in this form is mixed with 6 to 12 ounces of liquid and taken by mouth up to three times a day.

It can be used in form of powder/flour/soluble fiber. In these cases be sure you grind them up before eating, otherwise, you won't be able to absorb them. A dose of 50 grams of flaxseeds may be equal to 250 grams of flaxseed flour.  

Take 1 tablespoon of whole or bruised seed mixed with 150 milliliters (about 2/3 cup) of liquid, and take it by mouth 2-3 times a day – for stomach or abdominal discomfort. Take 2-3 tablespoons of bulk seed mixed in 10 times the amount of water – for a laxative effect (45 grams daily). For menopausal symptoms, 40 grams of flaxseed daily has been studied; and 30 grams of flaxseed daily for lupus nephritis.

Flaxseed flour can be mixed with warm or hot water to form a moist compress and can be used up to three times a day (30 to 100 grams of flaxseed flour for one session).

As for flaxseed oil, the recommended dose is 1 table spoon of liquid oil per day or 3,000 mg (capsules) twice daily. This is appropriate for initial dose. You can add the flax seed oil to your protein shakes, any other drinks or drink it by itself.

If you don’t like it – get some flax seed oil supplements, take 1 pill in the morning, and 1 pill at night. Plus, they are very cheap.

Do not use in children. There is no enough information for the safe usage in children.

Precautions

Do not confuse flaxseed oil with denatured flaxseed oil. It is one of the oldest commercial oils and solvent-processed flax seed oil has been used for centuries as a drying oil in painting and varnishing. It is not used for herbal properties.

Excessive consumption of flax seeds as a laxative without liquid can result in intestinal blockage and can cause diarrhea. Do not use it until your doctor knows the entire situation and proscribes it to you. Consuming to much of flax seed can impair the effectiveness of certain oral medications, due to its fiber content. So, try not to use flaxseed products at the same time as medications and other supplements.

More About Flax Seed...

Flax Seed

Biological Description   Native to India and domesticated in Middle East, flax plant belongs to the Linaceae family and is also known as Linum ...

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More About Flax Seed...

Flax Seed

Biological Description   Native to India and domesticated in Middle East, flax plant belongs ...

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