What is it?
Flaxseed is a seed from a plant called Linum usitatissimum. The seed itself is filled with omega-3 fatty acids and also dietary fiber. When taken before meal, it reduces one’s appetite so they may eat less food.
It is also believed that the fiber binds with cholesterol and reduces its absorption from intestines. It also seems to reduce blood clotting by making flaxseed less sticky.
Studies have found that flaxseed is likely to be helpful to lower cholesterol levels, improves kidney function in patients with SLE and also lower HbA1c which is the average sugar levels in patients with diabetes.
There are currently insufficient evidence based studies that prove its effectiveness in the conditions like osteoporosis, cancers, menopausal symptoms, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, cardiac disease and obesity.
Possible side effects
Flaxseed is generally safe for most people. However some may experience side effects like constipation, diarrhea, nausea, bloatedness and stomach upset. It is best t take flaxseed with sufficient water to reduce the possibility of bowel obstruction as flaxseed is a bulking agent. Do not eat raw unprocessed flaxseed as it maybe poisonous.
There is insufficient evidence to prove if it is safe for pregnant/lactating women to consume it, hence it is best to avoid.
People with bleeding disorders should avoid flaxseed as the latter will increase the bleeding tendencies since it slows clotting. As flaxseed may lower sugar level, diabetic patients who take anti-diabetic medications should monitor their sugar level closely if taking flaxseed.
Patients with hormone related conditions like breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer; endometriosis; and uterine fibroids should avoid flaxseed since flaxseed might act like estrogen and make things worse.
Partially defatted flaxseed may increase triglycerides hence people with high triglycerides should avoid.
1.Diabetic medications: Flaxseed will lower blood sugar levels, when used together with diabetic medications it may drop the blood sugar levels further.
2.Anti-coagulants & anti-platelets: Flaxseed will increase tendency to bleed when used with anti-coagulants and anti-platelet medications as it slows blood clotting.
There is currently no specific scientific guidelines on the dosage. Please follow the instructions on product label and if in doubt consult your doctor first.