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Flaxseed Oil Side Effects May Out Weigh Benefits

Flaxseed oil has been used by humanity for thousands of years in one form or another. Since it has been found to be a source of omega 3 fatty acids many people take this oil in the form of supplements. The reason for the intake of it lies in the fact that omega 3 fatty acids has been found as a good way of preventing life threatening conditions and improving health. However, it may not be the best source of omega 3 when the side effects are taken into account.

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is one of the main constituent of omega 3 alpha linolenic acid (ALA) found in flaxseed oil. The amount of EPA however is low, and only 1% of omega 3 alpha linolenic acid is converted to EPA during metabolism. Fish oil has a far greater metabolic conversion of alpha linolenic acid compared to it.

Cancer

Currently, there is an ongoing debate about flaxseed oil's connection with prostate and breast cancer. Although omega 3 is largely thought as preventative against both forms of the disease, alpha linolenic acid found in this oil is suspected to elevate the chances of contracting prostate cancer. However limited research has been conducted in this regard and conclusions one way or other remains illusive.

Studies have suggested that high dietary alpha linolenic acid increases the risk of breast cancer, while another study concluded that less advanced breast cancer is associated with higher ALA in breast tissue during diagnosis.

Intestine Obstruction

People suffering from conditions like scleroderma, a form of systemic sclerosis should avoid the use of flaxseed oil as should anyone suffering from an intestinal obstruction of any kind. Though it has been found to improve bowel function in healthy individuals, severe constipation has been reported for people who have taken this oil while suffering from any form of intestinal obstructions.

Pregnancy

Animal studies have shown that the development of reproductive system has been hampered at the embryonic stage when flaxseed oil is ingested during pregnancy. Hence it is best avoided by pregnant women though no such studies are conducted in humans.

Large Quantities

Should large quantities of flaxseed oil be ingested, then flatulence and loose stools maybe experienced.

Inflammatory Conditions

Another of flaxseed oil side effects, are associated with inflammatory conditions. It is often hyped as being a good anti - inflammatory agent, given that omega 3 is exactly that. Sadly, more extensive research has shown that this oil actually increases inflammation in many cases.

Diabetes

Many believe that flaxseed oil is good for improving diabetes; however this is unsupported by medical research as no positive effects on blood glucose have been found.

Though flaxseed oil is suggested as one of the best source of omega 3, side effects are emerging which are both unpleasant and dangerous. Hence other sources of omega 3 fatty acids like fish oil is considered safe and is prefered over it.

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