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Flaxseed oil is derived from seeds from the Linium usitatissimum flax plant. Flaxseed oil is an excellent source of valuable omega 3 fatty acids, which are highly regarded for their health benefits. Most notably, the oil contains an ideal balance of alpha-linolenic acid (or ALA , an omega-3 fatty acid), and linolenic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid), as well as healthy lignans.
ALA is vital for the proper function of nerves, cell membranes, cell tissues and prostaglandins.
Studies have shown flaxseed oil may be useful in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure while helping to reduce inflammation. Flaxseed oil may also play a role in reducing the development of atherosclerosis and heart disease by reducing blood platelet aggregation.
The lignans in specially-marked flaxseed oil products don't contribute any EFA's. Instead, they are converted into compounds that have antioxidant and hormone-balancing properties.
Flaxseed oil is available in capsule or liquid oil form. Flaxseed oil is nutritionally degraded by heat, light and oxygen, and should be refrigerated. The oil may be used to help flavor foods like salad dressings, but should not be used in cooking as direct contact with heat will cause the oil to lose its beneficial properties.
Flaxseed oil may cause mild gastrointestinal symptoms in sensitive individuals. Use caution and consult your physician if you are currently taking any blood thinning medications such as warfarin, aspirin, or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen. Flaxseed oil in combination with these medications can cause excessive bleeding.