Health Information CenterFlax Seed oil

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n this day and age of fat phobia and the resultant barrage of low fat and non-fat food products lining the grocery store aisles, a recommendation to supplement your daily diet with one to two tablespoons of essential fatty acid rich flax or borage seed oil would appear to go against what you are being told. To the contrary, this is exactly what health conscious consumers are doing across the country, not only to attain and maintain health. The fatty acids have been scientifically validated to not only benefit optimal health, but in many instances, serve as a treatment for the over 60 health ailments. It is true Americans should not consume more than 20-30% of daily calories as fats, a lack of the dietary essential fatty acids has been suggested to facilitate degenerative disease. Surveys indicate that at least 80% of our population is deficient in the essential fatty acids, this may present a serious health threat. Unfortunately, mass commercial refinement of fats and oils products and foods containing them has effectively eliminated the essential fatty acids from our food chain, contributing to our modern day deficiency. 

Flax seed oil is considered by many to be the answer to this health dilemma. Oil extracted from flax seed is unique because it contains both essential fatty acids: alpha-linolenic, an omega-3 fatty acid, and linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, in appreciable amounts. Flax seed oil is the world's richest source of omega-3 fatty acids at a whopping 57% (over two times the amount of omega-3 fatty acids as fish oils). Omega-3 fatty  acids have been extensively studied for their beneficial effects toward the following: arthritis, cancer, high cholesterol levels, heart pain "angina", high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, eczema, stroke, and heart attack.

The high content of omega-3 fatty acids in flax seed oil is but one of its positive attributes. The essential fatty acids combined here have proven to impart a regulatory function on the body's fatty acid metabolism. Fat metabolism is as important, if not more critical, than our body's metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates as evidenced by the drastic rise in fat related degenerative diseases, such as vascular disease and strokes.  Dietary essential fatty acids common to flax seed oil are ultimately converted to hormone-like substances known as prostaglandins, and are important for the regulation of a host of bodily functions including inflammation, pain, and swelling, pressure in the eye, joints or blood vessels, secretions from mucus membranes and their viscosity, smooth muscle & autonomic reflexes, gastrointestinal, arterial, ear, heart, water retention, blood clotting ability, allergic response, rheumatoid arthritis, nerve transmission and steroid production & hormone synthesis

Scientists continue to discover regulating effects of prostaglandins. Without the essential fatty acids, the building blocks of prostaglandins, a malfunction of fat metabolism is certain, as are problems in the regulation of the above listed bodily functions.

For some individuals, flax seed oil may offer only half of the solution. Those deficient in co-factor nutrients, specifically the vitamins pro-A, A, C, E, B2, B6, pantothenic acid, B12, biotin, and the minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, sulfur, and zinc, sometimes have difficulty in converting the omega-6 fatty acid, linoleic acid, found in flax and other seed oils to the healthful prostaglandins. 

Still others are thought to lack the necessary enzyme (catalyst) to make this conversion; particularly those afflicted with diabetes, asthma, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, alcoholism and the aged. For those suffering from co-factor deficiencies, a broad spectrum multi-vitamin and mineral may be recommended with, perhaps, an oil supplement rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). Individuals who may lack the proper enzyme system would require a GLA supplement in addition to the flax seed oil to effectively skip over the absent or impaired enzyme and continue on toward normal production of beneficial prostaglandins.

Nature's most potent concentration of GLA comes in the form of borage seed oil (24%). A great deal of scientific research has been conducted with supplements rich in GLA, resulting in significant interest regarding the aforementioned health ailments, as well as those affected by pre-menstrual syndrome, benign breast disease, eczema, psoriasis, obesity, and vascular disorders.

When considering an essential fatty acid supplement and deciding on either flax or borage seed oils, the most sensible solution may be a formulation of the two. The combination of both flax and borage seed oil yields a true Omega-Twin by providing nature's best of the omega-3 fatty acids in flax with the best of omega-6 fatty acids in GLA rich borage oil. 

Supplementation with flax seed & borage seed oils makes good sense for the following reasons:

1. Omega-3 fatty acids and GLA together on the production of beneficial prostaglandins.

2. Over 60 health problems have proven to benefit from both flax seed and borage seed supplements.

3. Flax seed oil combined with borage seed oil work together for even better results.

4. Flax seed and borage seed oils combined is less expensive than purchasing them separately.


Conclusion :
The answer appears not to be no fat, but the right fat, as common to flax and borage seed oils, to achieve optimal health.

Past and present scientific research supports the use of essential fatty acid nutrients in promoting optimal health. Flax seed oil is recognized as nature's richest source of essential and omega-3 fatty acids. Borage seed oil is recognized as nature's richest source of GLA. These natural plant substances used alone have created a great deal of interest in the treatment of numerous health problems. Evidence exists to suggest the combination of omega-3 fatty acids with gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) may further complement the therapeutic result of either fatty acid used singularly.

Other Flax Seed Information:

Flax, an ancient but little known seed, has recently gained worldwide recognition for its many nutritional attributes. Seven years ago, researchers from The University of Toronto began to study the potential benefits of flax. Their results showed that flax seed could lower serum cholesterol and also prevent the growth of new cancer cells. The prediction is: flax will likely be found in many new foods in the near future. In Dr. Andrew Weil's new book "Eight Weeks to Optimum Health" flax seeds are the first things that he suggests that anyone interested in eating healthier do. He recommends whole flax seeds ground into cereal or sprinkled on foods, but they are also available in capsule form or in flax seed oil. The FDA presented their findings at a recent convention on Experimental Biology and related the following findings: Levels of 1.25 and 2.5% flax in the diet stimulated the immune system. flax increased vitamin D levels and increased the retention of calcium, magnesium and phosphate. flax is very high in lignans which have anti-tumor properties and may be linked to a low incidence of breast cancer and colon cancer. Moderately high levels of flax, compared to the same level of oat bran was better in lowering triglycerides, total cholesterol and LDL, and favorable effects on insulin activity. flax seeds are very reasonable priced and seem to be a valuable addition to the daily diet.

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