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Flaxseed Oil

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What other names is Flaxseed Oil known by?

Aceite de Linaza, Acide Alpha-Linolénique, Acide Gras Oméga 3, Acide Gras N-3, ALA, Aliviraaii, Alpha-Linolenic Acid, Alasi, Brown Flaxseed Oil, Brown-Seeded Flax Oil, Common Flax Oil, Echter Lein, Flachs, Flachssamen, Flax Oil, Flax Seed Oil, Golden Flax Oil, Graine de Lin, Huile de Lin, Kattan, Keten, Lin, Lin Commun, Lin Oléagineux, Linho, Lino, Lino Comune, Lino Mazzese, Lino Usuale, Linseed Flax Oil, Linseed Oil, Linum crepitans, Linum humile, Linum usitatissimum, Malsag, N-3 Fatty Acid, Oil of Flaxseed, Omega-3 Fatty Acid, Saatlein, Ta Ma, Tisii.

What is Flaxseed Oil?

Flaxseed is the seed from the plant Linum usitatissimum. Oil from the seed is used to make medicine.

People try flaxseed oil for many different conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis and high cholesterol. It is also tried for treating osteoarthritis, anxiety, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), vaginal infections, dry eyes, "hardening of the arteries" (atherosclerosis), high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Some people use flaxseed oil as a laxative for constipation, for weight loss, and to prevent breast cancer and prostate cancer.

Flaxseed oil is also applied to the skin to sooth irritations or soften roughness.

In foods, flaxseed oil is used as cooking oil and in margarines.

In manufacturing, flaxseed oil is used as an ingredient in paints, varnishes, linoleum, and soap; and as a waterproofing agent.

Possibly Ineffective for...

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There is some evidence that taking flaxseed oil might improve attention, impulsiveness, restlessness, and self-control in children with ADHD.
  • "Hardening of the arteries" (atherosclerosis). There is some evidence that increasing the amount of linolenic acid in the diet can help to prevent hardening of the arteries. Flaxseed oil contains linolenic acid, and therefore some people suggest that flaxseed oil might prevent atherosclerosis. Though this assumption seems reasonable, there has been no research yet to prove it is correct.
  • Breast cancer. Women who have higher levels of alpha-linolenic acid in their breast tissue seem to be less likely to get breast cancer. Scientists think that high intake of linolenic acid might protect against breast cancer. Flaxseed oil is one source of linolenic acid. However it is not known if increasing flaxseed oil intake will help to prevent breast cancer.
  • Heart disease. . People with existing heart disease who consume more alpha-linolenic acid in their diet seem to have a lower risk of dying from heart disease. Flaxseed oil is one source of alpha-linolenic acid. However, research has not directly measured the effect of flaxseed oil intake on heart disease outcomes. It is also not known if flaxseed oil supplements have the same effects as flaxseed oil from food.
  • Dry eyes. Some early research suggests that taking flaxseed oil might reduce irritation and symptoms of dry eyes. A specific product containing fish oil plus flaxseed oil (TheraTears Nutrition) might also reduce symptoms of dry eye and increase tear production.
  • Dry skin. There is inconsistent evidence about the effects of flaxseed oil for dry skin. Some research suggests that taking flaxseed oil by mouth with alpha-tocopherol daily for 12 weeks does not improve skin moisture in women with dry skin. However, other research suggests that taking flaxseed oil by mouth for the same length of time can improve skin moisture and roughness.
  • Exercise performance. Lower-quality research suggests that alpha-linolenic acid, a chemical in flaxseed oil, does not improve muscle strength in older adults.
  • HIV. Early research suggests that taking a formula containing arginine, yeast RNA, and alpha-linolenic acid, a chemical in flaxseed oil, improves weight gain, but not immune function in people with HIV.
  • High blood pressure. Early studies suggest that flaxseed oil supplements help to lower blood pressure in men with normal blood pressure, but high cholesterol. It is not clear if flaxseed oil lowers blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
  • An ovary disorder known as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Research suggests that taking flaxseed oil for 6 weeks might lower triglyceride levels, but does not affect weight, blood sugar, or cholesterol levels in women with PCOS.
  • Pneumonia. Consuming alpha-linolenic acid in the diet seem to be linked to a reduced risk of developing pneumonia. Flaxseed oil is one source of alpha-linolenic acid. However, research has not directly measured the effect of flaxseed oil intake on pneumonia outcomes. It is also not known if flaxseed oil supplements have the same effects as flaxseed oil from food.
  • Prostate cancer. Research is inconsistent on the effect of the flaxseed oil ingredient, alpha-linolenic acid, in prostate cancer. Some research suggests that high dietary intake of alpha-linolenic acid is linked with an increased risk for prostate cancer. Other research suggests high intake or high blood levels of alpha-linolenic acid is not linked with the overall risk of prostate cancer; however, extra alpha-linolenic acid might make existing prostate cancer worse. The source of alpha-linolenic acid appears to be important. Alpha-linolenic acid from dairy and meat sources has been positively linked with prostate cancer. Alpha-linolenic acid from plant sources, such as flaxseed or flaxseed oil, does not affect prostate cancer risk.
  • Anxiety.
  • Constipation.
  • Cancer.
  • Vaginal problems.
  • Weight loss.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate flaxseed oil for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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