Flaxseed oil comes from the seeds of the flax plant (Linum usitatissimum, L.), which is believed to have originated in Egypt. It grows throughout Canada and Northwestern United States. Another name for flaxseed oil is linseed oil and sometimes it is called “liquid gold.” It is available in liquid and softgel capsule forms.
An extensive body of literature has shown that flaxseed has gained a significant position in the domain of nutritional sciences owing to its pivotal role as a curative and an antioxidant agent, and works to lower cholesterol, and high blood pressure.(1) Recent studies have also supported the anti-cancer benefits of flaxseed oil from the omega-3’s derived from it. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown by modern science to reduce inflammation and help prevent certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis and even cancer.
Studies on flaxseed oil in the treatment of various illnesses and diseases:
Flaxseed is an essential source of high quality protein and soluble fiber and has considerable potential as a source of phenolic compounds. Flaxseed is emerging as an important functional food ingredient because of its rich contents of α-linolenic acid (ALA), lignans, and fiber. Lignans appear to be anti-carcinogenic compounds. The omega-3s and lignan phytoestrogens of flaxseed are in focus for their benefits for a wide range of health conditions and may possess chemo-protective properties in animals and humans.(2)
A recent PubMed article from December 2015 titled, “Flax seed oil inhibits metastatic melanoma and reduces lung tumor formation in mice,” shows that at least in mice, flax seed oil inhibits the growth of metastatic melanoma and reduces lung tumor formation.(3)
In the study, cultured metastatic tumor cells were injected into the C57BL/6 mice through tail-vein injection (TVI) and the anti-metastatic properties of flax seed oil. Elevated marker enzyme activities in serum and altered enzymic and non-enzymic antioxidants were recovered during FSO treatment. Altered metastatic markers levels favoring the formation of metastatic lesions were observed in the disease group. FSO administration re-altered the levels of these markers in the treatment group contributing to better control of metastasis development.
The conclusion of the study stated, “These results support the protective role of FSO against lung cancer metastasis.”
Another study published on PubMed in 2007, details how 344 rats were given flax seed oil, and as a result, putative precursor lesions in the development of colon cancer in the distal colon by 88% and 77%, in the proximal colon by 86% and 87% with a total reduction of 87.5% and 84%, respectively.(4)
The nutritional properties of flaxseed oil:
Flaxseed oil contains one of the richest source foods of essential fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are needed for good health. The presence of omega-3, omega-6 rich oil, alpha-linoleic acid, dietary fibers, secoisolariciresinol diglucoside, protein and minerals in flaxseed constitute a very strong basis for the utilization of flaxseed in various food preparations.
Data on the chemical composition of flaxseed, obtained from various sources, are characterized by high variability. The flaxseeds contain 35-45% oil, which contains 9-10% of saturated fatty acids (palmitic and stearic), about 20% monounsaturated fatty acids (mainly oleic acid), and more than 70% alpha-linolenic fatty acids acid.
The protein content in seeds of flax varies from 20-30%. Proteins of flaxseeds are limited by lysine, but are characterized by a high coefficient of digestibility (89,6%) and biological value (77,4%). The content of dietary fiber reaches 28% by weight of whole seed, with the ratio of soluble and insoluble fractions from 20:80 until 40:60. According to the content of B-group vitamins and some minerals flaxseeds are close to the crops.
Vitamin E in the flaxseeds is mainly in the form of gamma-tocopherol (9,2 mg/100 g of seeds). Flaxseed is the richest in the vegetable world source of lignans (up to 0,7-1,5% of dry weight of seed), among which prevails secoisolariciresinol diglucoside. The chemical composition of flaxseed has identified areas in the study of preventive and functional properties. PUFA omega-3 family, dietary fibers and phytoestrogen lignans determine hypolipidemic and antiatherogenic actions of flaxseed.(5)
Flax seed oil is easily oxidized, and can become rancid rather quickly. Especially if it is not kept cool. Flaxseed oil should be kept refrigerated, and has a shelf life of only a few weeks. Oil with an unpleasant or rancid odor should be discarded.
How should you include flaxseed oil in your diet?
Whole or crushed flaxseed can be mixed with water or juice and taken by mouth. Flaxseed is also available in powder form. Flaxseed oil is available in liquid and capsule forms.
One option is to use flaxseed oil in salad dressings or to sprinkle ground flaxseeds into a morning shake or juice, or on cereal or a salad.
There is the Budwig Diet or Protocol that was invented by Dr. Johanna Budwig who was said to have saved the lives of approximately 90% of her cancer patients, of whom many were terminally ill. The diet consists of supplementing a healthy organic food regime with mainly organic cottage cheese and organic flaxseed oil. The ratio of cottage cheese to flaxseed oil is 2:1.
For example, before breakfast you take 2 tablespoons of organic cottage cheese mixed with 1 tablespoon organic flax seed oil. You may also add in organic fruits or spices to make it more palatable to your taste buds. You can repeat this later in the afternoon, and or in the evening as well.
You are supposed to consume it from one to two, and or three times per day depending on your health condition. Dr Budwig had said that people who are suffering from a chronic or terminal disease should try to work themselves up to consuming 4 – 8 tablespoons of the flax seed oil daily.
- PudMed: Flaxseed – a miraculous defense against some critical maladies.
- PubMed: Flaxseed: a potential source of food, feed and fiber.
- PubMed: Flax seed oil inhibits metastatic melanoma and reduces lung tumor formation in mice
- PubMed: Flax seed oil and flax seed meal reduce the formation of aberrant crypt foci (ACF) in
- PubMed: Nutritional value and functional properties of flaxseed