Although there are very few flaxseed oil side effects proven by documented studies, it’s best to make sure you know about them. Check with your doctor before starting to take it.
In contrast, the health benefits of flaxseed oil are substantiated by extensive research over a long period of time and confirmed by massive real life experience with various flax seed recipes.
But you know what they say about too much of a good thing…
Like with any other dietary supplement, you should be cautious and start with a small amount of flaxseed oil to see how your body reacts to it.
Even though the studies on the side effects of flaxseed oil are not conclusive, it is best to consult your health practitioner before starting to take it on a regular basis, making sure that the suggested side effects will not affect you.
Before looking at the suggested flaxseed oil side effects, remember this: NEVER cook with this highly-oxidizing oil. Use it only cold soups, salads, fruit smoothies or protein shakes.
Always keep it in the fridge after opening the bottle, preferably not for more than a few weeks.
Also, never use flaxseed oil that has a rancid smell – discard it immediately.
Possible Flaxseed Oil Side Effects
Gastrointestinal: Taking too much flaxseed oil (more than 2-3 tablespoons at one time) may cause an upset stomach, flatulence and loose stools.
Allergy: One study found that flaxseed oil could be responsible for allergic reactions like diarrhea, watery eyes, hives, stuffed up nose and shortness of breath.
However, enough evidence is missing to confirm this isolated finding. If you have known allergies, is best to start with a very small amount and see how your body reacts.
Blood clotting: Some studies suggest that flaxseed oil may affect the body’s blood clotting ability, so if you have a bleeding disorder, take drugs that increase the risk of bleeding or plan to undergo medical, surgical or dental procedures, you should check with your doctor before consuming flaxseed oil.
Problematic conversion to EPA & DHA fatty acids: The essential fatty acid content in flaxseed oil is mostly ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which is only a precursor of EPA & DHA – the essential fatty acids in fish oil that are so valuable for your health. Normally, ALA is converted into EPA & DHA in your body, but this conversion becomes problematic with age or certain metabolic problems, like diabetes.
Prostate Cancer: Some researchers suggest that a diet high in ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) coming from dairy and meat could be linked to a higher risk of prostate cancer. However, this finding does not apply to flaxseed-based ALA. In fact, the role that flaxseed oil may play in the development of prostate cancer is highly debated and controversial, partly due to the very little research done regarding this specific aspect of flaxseed oil side effects.
Estrogen-like effects in pre-menopausal women: Even though filtered flaxseed oil is perfectly safe, there are a few points to pay attention to when you consume oil with flax seed fiber (lignans). Due to the estrogen-like effects of the lignans in flax seeds, your menstrual period may be altered.
If you are pregnant or lactating, you may want to avoid flaxseed products altogether. For the same reason, use cautiously flaxseed oil with phytoestrogen-containing ground flaxseed if you have a low thyroid condition, or any hormone-sensitive condition like endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), uterine fibroids or cancer of the breast, uterus, or ovary.
The filtered flax oil does not contain any lignans whatsoever.
So if you can’t consume ground flaxseed or lignans-enriched oil due to the above issues, there’s no reason you should miss the valuable weight loss benefits and the other health benefits of flaxseed oil.