Flaxseed oil is the oil that comes from the seeds of flax plants.1 This oil contains healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids along with the essential fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).1 Flaxseed oil is different from flaxseed. While flaxseed contains antioxidants for cancer prevention and has a laxative effect, flaxseed oil lacks these properties2 because it does not contain fiber or ligands, which are both present in flaxseed.3 However, flaxseed oil benefits do include cholesterol-lowering properties among other health benefits.2
Flaxseed Oil Uses and Health Benefits
There are many flaxseed oil uses and many more flaxseed oil benefits. You can use it for:
- Skin Abrasions - One of the best flaxseed oil uses is treating cuts, scrapes, and abrasions. Apply flaxseed oil topically to skin abrasions to aid in their healing.
- Gastritis- Gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining, which can result in upper abdominal pain as well as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and heartburn. Flaxseed oil helps calm these symptoms by coating the stomach. You can take it orally in oil form or mixed with water whenever you feel your symptoms of gastritis flare up.
- Anal Fissure- Anal fissures are tears in the lining of the lower rectal area. When taken orally, flaxseed oil can help soften stool to make bowel movements less painful and to aid in faster healing of the fissure.
With flaxseed oil nutrition content comes many more flaxseed oil benefits. It’s suggested that you can use flaxseed oil for weight loss.4 When you take flaxseed oil for weight loss, you can also combat other issues associated with obesity, such as heart disease and high cholesterol.5 It’s also said that you can use flaxseed oil for hair growth.6 Since flaxseed oil nutrition content includes essential fatty acids, which are important to hair and skin, using flaxseed oil for hair or taking flaxseed oil for skin health is a promising natural remedy.6
Flaxseed Oil Side Effects and Precautions
There are few flaxseed oil side effects, and there hasn’t yet been a reported case of flaxseed oil toxicity, which makes it a safe natural remedy for certain conditions.7 One of the only flaxseed oil side effects you have to watch out for is diarrhea.8 Though side effects are minimal, it’s important to be aware of the following tips:
- Flaxseed oil isn’t suitable for cooking. Instead, you can enjoy the benefits of flaxseed oil when you take small amounts orally, such as through flaxseed oil supplements.7
- To prevent the oil from going rancid, store in an opaque, airtight container in the refrigerator. Do not use if it smells bad since that means it’s gone rancid.7
- While there aren’t many side effects of flaxseed oil, flaxseed itself contains other components that can impact the digestive system as well as impact the body’s ability to absorb other oral medications.
Talk to your doctor about any complementary medications, supplements, or health approaches you are taking to ensure that flaxseed and flaxseed oil is a viable option for you.