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Linseed Oil: Advantages, But Also Disadvantages

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Flaxseed oil is one of the best sources of short-chain omega-3 fatty acids. These are considered essential fatty acids, which means they must be obtained from food. We present the properties of linseed oil, what you should pay attention to when buying high-quality linseed oil and how the oil can best be taken. However, linseed oil can also have disadvantages that must also be taken into account.

What is linseed oil?

Linseed oil is the oil from the seeds (linseed/linseed) of common linseed (Linum usitatissimum). Common flax is also called flax. It is a plant with small blue flowers, the stems of which can also be made into linen (cloth). However, this is a different species. The oil is obtained from the flax, the tissue from the fiber flax. The linseed oil is obtained by grinding and pressing or just pressing the linseed and has a very unusual composition.

What is linseed oil made of?

Linseed oil consists largely of the essential short-chain omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). This fatty acid is only found in very small amounts in most other oils and fats. Not so in linseed oil. Alpha-linolenic acid even predominates here with up to 60 percent. Because ALA is an essential fatty acid, it must be obtained from food. It cannot be formed by the organism itself.

The daily requirement of an adult for ALA is about 2 g (2000 mg) based on an average energy requirement of 2000 kcal. This 2 g can already be absorbed with 1 teaspoon of linseed oil.

According to the Federal Food Code, linseed oil has the following average composition (rounded):

Polyunsaturated fatty acids

  • Alpha Linolenic Acid (Omega 3): 53%
  • Linoleic Acid (Omega 6): 14%

The omega-6-omega-3 ratio of linseed oil is 1:3.7 (1:5 is often specified, which depends on the fatty acid profile of the respective linseed oil, which can naturally vary).

Monounsaturated fatty acids

  • Oleic acid: 19%

Saturated Fatty Acids

  • Palmitic and stearic acid: 10%

(Note: All explanations about fatty acids can be found in the previous link, which explains e.g. what the difference is between saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, between omega 3 and omega 6, between short and long-chain fatty acids, etc.)

How much flaxseed oil is in 1 teaspoon of flaxseed?

Many people like to take flaxseed as a source of flaxseed oil and ask about the amount of omega-3 and omega-6 per teaspoon or per tablespoon of flaxseed. Of course, spoons vary in size, so we assume average values. Your teaspoon could also only hold 3 instead of 5 g. As a natural food, flaxseed is also subject to fluctuations in terms of oil content, so only average values can be given here:

  • According to the Federal Food Code, 1 teaspoon of flaxseed (5 g) contains 36.5% oil/fat, which corresponds to 1.8 g. This 1.8 g of oil contains 1 g of omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid; ALA) and 0.27 g of omega-6 fatty acids (linoleic acid). 2 teaspoons can therefore cover an adult’s daily requirement of ALA (2 g).
  • 1 tablespoon of flaxseed contains about 10 g, i.e. twice the amount of flaxseed, and therefore also contains twice the amount of fatty acids.

In order to be able to digest and utilize the fatty acids contained, the seeds must be crushed or ground. Otherwise, the flaxseed will be swollen, but otherwise undigested (including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids) excreted with the stool.

How does linseed oil taste?

A high-quality, freshly pressed linseed oil tastes mild and slightly nutty. If a flaxseed oil tastes bitter, this is a sign to stop eating it. Oxidation processes have already started and the oil is spoiled, i.e. some of it is already rancid.

How is linseed oil made?

High-quality cold-pressed flaxseed oil is made by pressing the flaxseed and carefully filtering it during bottling, so that suspended matter can be removed, which would otherwise increase the risk of oxidation processes and lead to faster spoilage.

Other linseed oils can also be made from heated, i.e. roasted, linseed, and using hot water. Of course, these are no longer cold-pressed oils.

What can you use linseed oil for?

Linseed oil can be used as food in the kitchen. It can also be taken as a dietary supplement. Linseed oil can be given to pets (e.g. dogs and horses), used externally for skin care, and theoretically also used as a wood stain.

Linseed oil in the kitchen – recipes with linseed oil

In the kitchen, linseed oil is used as an edible oil, preferably in cold dishes, since its fatty acids are heat-sensitive. Linseed oil is therefore used for dressings, dips, quark dishes, smoothies, shakes, or homemade oat cream. It is also possible to give linseed oil over ready-cooked dishes that have cooled down a bit.

Internal use of linseed oil as a dietary supplement

Flaxseed oil is taken internally by the teaspoon, tablespoon, or in capsule form for the following purposes:

  • For the supply of omega-3 fatty acids
  • For anti-inflammatory
  • To regulate blood sugar and insulin levels in diabetes
  • To regulate digestion
  • To regulate blood pressure and some blood lipid levels
  • For skin care for sensitive and dry skin
  • As part of the anti-cancer diet according to Johanna Budwig

This list does not mean that linseed oil cures the respective diseases without further ado, but that linseed oil can be included in the therapy and can support the recovery process or the regulation of individual values according to the studies presented below.

External use of linseed oil

Linseed oil can be used externally (but also internally) for skin care. See below under “Linseed oil for sensitive and dry skin”.

Use of linseed oil in dogs and horses

Omega-3 fatty acids such as alpha-linolenic acid are also essential fatty acids for dogs and horses. Therefore, linseed oil is already mixed into numerous dog foods (up to 5 ml per 10 kg dog) – and horse owners occasionally feed linseed oil as an additive (30 – 45 ml per 600 kg). It promotes digestion, is good for the coat (especially with skin problems and allergies), reduces inflammation, and improves respiratory problems. For horses in training, it should also be a cheap energy booster that does not provide any protein at the same time.

Due to the higher dosage, larger linseed oil canisters are also sold for horses, which are often translucent and, due to the wide opening, lead to contact with plenty of oxygen when opening and pouring out. This increases the risk of oxidized linseed oil being fed. Also, the horse’s organism is not designed to digest isolated oils.

If you want to feed your dog linseed oil, then do not buy “special” (and possibly cheap) linseed oil for dogs in the pet shop, but give the linseed oil that you use yourself.

With both animals, the question arises as to whether they would ever naturally consume linseed oil, which is rather unlikely. Horses would get enough alpha-linolenic acid from grass, herbs, and hay – and dogs would probably get their omega-3 needs from animal food, which provides the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. It is also likely that dogs, like many humans, cannot convert ALA into long-chain omega-3 fatty acids to a sufficient extent and should therefore be given supplements with DHA and EPA (if at all).

Therefore, if you want to give your animals linseed oil, it is better to use it very sparingly and only choose the very best quality.

Use of linseed oil as a wood stain

Linseed oil is also often considered a wood treatment agent because it penetrates deep into the wood, where it hardens and in this way impregnates the wood. Since normal linseed oil takes a long time to dry, so-called linseed oil varnish is usually used for wood – a product that is made from linseed oil but has other additives that accelerate the drying process. Boiled linseed oil is also used for linseed oil varnish.

What does linseed oil do and for which diseases is it taken?

Linseed oil is an old household remedy that can be used for many ailments. Various studies now confirm the traditional areas of application of linseed oil, which we present below:

Can Flaxseed Oil Lower Cholesterol and Triglycerides?

According to various studies, linseed oil does not have a uniform lowering effect on cholesterol and triglycerides. In some studies, it was able to lower the levels, in others not. Linseed oil was found to be particularly effective in people who were already ill and in overweight people.

In a meta-analysis from 2009, for example, based on the evaluation of 28 studies, it was found that flaxseed (whole) lowers the cholesterol level, but not flaxseed oil. Neither flaxseed nor flaxseed oil had any effect on triglycerides.

In a 2015 study, participants were given 10g of either flaxseed oil or corn oil once a day with dinner. In the linseed oil group, the levels of ALA and EPA increased after just 4 weeks, but not the DHA levels. In the flaxseed oil group, the levels of apolipoprotein and sd-LDL cholesterol dropped significantly – both levels are used for early detection of arteriosclerosis.

In a 2016 study with dialysis patients, 6 g of flaxseed oil per day for 8 weeks was able to reduce triglyceride levels (blood fats) by up to 23 percent. This was not the case in the placebo group that received medium-chain fatty acids.

In the 1990s, a study of obese participants found that taking 20 g of alpha-linolenic acid from flaxseed oil daily improved artery health (elasticity of blood vessel walls) and reduced oxidation of LDL cholesterol (it is the oxidized cholesterol that is considered dangerous for the heart). -Circulatory Health). No such positive results were seen in the comparison groups that received olive oil and fat-containing saturated fats.

So, when it comes to cholesterol and triglycerides, feel free to try flaxseed oil or just use it in your cooking as a raw vegetable oil if you like. However, it is safer to take flaxseed. In 2015, for example, the effect of 30 g of ground flaxseed was compared with 30 g of whole wheat in patients with the peripheral arterial occlusive disease (intermittent claudication). Flaxseed was able to reduce LDL cholesterol by 15 percent after 4 weeks (and can also be taken alongside cholesterol-lowering drugs).

Linseed oil for the heart

As described in the previous section, linseed oil was not always able to reliably lower blood lipid levels. However, one only wants to reduce blood lipid levels because elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels are considered risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. It, therefore, makes sense to also look at the direct connection, i.e. whether the intake of linseed oil can influence cardiovascular risk, which was also done in a review from 2010. It showed on the basis of 9 studies:

  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) from flaxseed oil can protect against heart attacks and sudden cardiac death.
  • The higher the ALA content in the participants’ adipose tissue, the lower the risk of heart attacks.
  • ALA, EPA, and DHA levels were significantly lower in patients who had a heart attack.
  • A diet rich in ALA reduces the risk of calcium deposits in the coronary arteries.
  • The more ALA a person consumed, the lower their risk of coronary artery disease.
  • The risk reduction was independent of fish consumption.
  • Increasing ALA intake by 1 percent (of total energy requirements) reduced the risk of coronary artery disease by 40 percent.
  • The higher the ALA intake, the lower the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or other diseases.

Since the ALA is not only contained in linseed oil but also in other foods, these other foods can of course also contribute to optimizing the ALA supply, e.g. B. Linseed, hemp seed, hemp oil, walnuts, walnut oil, etc.

In mice, for example, a diet consisting of 10 percent flaxseed even led to a clear regression of arteriosclerosis (calcification deposits) in the main arteries after six months.

Linseed oil in stroke prevention

Anyone who is well supplied with alpha-linolenic acid (at least 1.19 g per day) has a lower risk of deposits in the aorta, which of course also means a lower risk of heart attack and stroke. Conversely, lower ALA values can be measured in the subcutaneous fat tissue of stroke patients. Just a 0.06 percent increase in ALA levels in the phospholipid (in our cell membranes) resulted in a 28 percent reduction in stroke risk. If the blood serum ALA level increases by 0.13 percent, the risk of stroke decreases by 37 percent.

Linseed oil in diabetes

Linseed oil and linseed can also be used in the treatment of diabetes. In 2022, a study appeared in the Journal of Thoracic Disease in which 60 people received 1000 mg of flaxseed oil (40 percent alpha-linolenic acid) daily, and another 60 people received 1000 mg of fish oil (15 percent DHA, 25 percent EPA). All 120 participants were between 40 and 100 years old and had type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis).

After 10 weeks it was shown that flaxseed oil was able to lower the insulin level and also the value of the inflammatory marker hs-CRP better than fish oil. However, the effect of the two oils on insulin resistance and fasting blood sugar levels was similar. Therefore, regular intake of flaxseed oil could be a good measure for patients with type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease.

Diabetics who consume high dietary ALA (more than 2.1 g per day) also have a lower risk of diabetic neuropathy.

Linseed oil as a blood thinner?

Flaxseed oil is often warned of because it is said to be able to “thin” the blood, i.e. to inhibit blood clotting. However, this has not been true in most studies. Only in type 2 diabetics did taking 5 g of flaxseed oil per day show a significant reduction in blood coagulation factors after two weeks. Since diabetics have an inherently higher risk of thrombosis, linseed oil is apparently ideal for this group of people. If, as a diabetic, you are already taking anticoagulant medication, you should discuss an additional cure with linseed oil with your doctor.

In healthy people, however, neither the 3-month intake of flaxseed nor the 4-week intake of 5.9 g ALA in the form of flaxseed oil could change the blood coagulation values. Even a daily dose of 5.2 g EPA and DHA failed. Even when the intake was extended to 6 months, there was no effect on the clotting factors.

Linseed oil for blood pressure

Linseed oil can also have a positive effect on high blood pressure. A study was published in 2007 in which men with dyslipidemia received either 8 g of ALA in the form of linseed oil or 8 g of linoleic acid in the form of safflower oil daily for 12 weeks. In the linseed oil group, blood pressure dropped by an average of 5 mmHg. It is believed that the antihypertensive effect also contributes to the cardio-protective effect of flaxseed oil.

In October 2022, a review article evaluating 5 studies on the blood pressure-lowering effect of linseed oil showed that linseed oil could benefit patients with metabolic syndrome and related symptoms (dyslipidemia, diabetes, high blood pressure) from taking linseed oil. Flaxseed oil reduces the systolic value by an average of almost 4 mmHg and the diastolic value by 1.7 mmHg.

Flaxseed is also a good idea for blood pressure. In a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study, the patients suffering from a peripheral arterial occlusive disease (intermittent claudication) and, for the most part, also from high blood pressure, consumed 30 g of ground linseed daily for six months. Systolic blood pressure dropped by 10 mmHg and diastolic by 7 mmHg. It was observed that the ALA level increased through the regular intake of flaxseed. The higher it rose, the better the blood pressure responded.

Linseed oil for sensitive and dry skin

Linseed oil is ideal for sensitive and dry skin – particularly when used internally, although the oil could be used topically if you wish.

In 2009, a study was published on this subject in which women took 2.2 g of linseed oil, borage seed oil, or a placebo daily for 12 weeks. The women suffered from sensitive and/or dry skin. After application, the redness was less in both oil groups, skin moisture had increased and water loss through the skin decreased. The skin was also less rough and less prone to flaking.

Linseed oil for osteoarthritis of the knee

Linseed oil can also be used externally for osteoarthritis of the knee. To do this, rub about 20 drops of the oil into the painful knee every 8 hours. In a 2018 double-blind, placebo-controlled study, participants did just that for 6 weeks – and ended up having less pain and fewer other symptoms typical of osteoarthritis (stiffness, swelling). At the same time, they were finally able to be more active in their everyday lives and did more sports. There were no noticeable improvements in the placebo group.

Linseed oil against chronic inflammation

Linseed oil has an anti-inflammatory effect, which means it lowers various inflammation values. However, the study results are often inconsistent. In a 2019 review, for example, after evaluating 32 studies, it was said that flaxseed oil can affect the levels of hs-CRP and TNFα, while there were hardly any significant effects on IL-6 and CRP levels.

CRP means C-reactive protein. It is an inflammatory marker involved in chronic inflammatory diseases such as B. Crohn’s disease and rheumatism or infections or sepsis can increase sharply. Hs-CRP, on the other hand, means high-sensitive CRP. This value is much more sensitive and already indicates very subtle inflammations, such as those caused by e.g. B. could be present in arteriosclerosis or diabetes.

However, in a more recent study from 2020, flaxseed oil did lower IL-6 levels. IL-6 (interleukin-6) is an inflammatory messenger (a pro-inflammatory cytokine) that can increase other inflammatory values, e.g. B. the CRP value. IL-6 also increases the cortisol value, i.e. the level of stress hormones.

60 patients took part in the study, all of whom suffered from metabolic syndrome, with chronic inflammation and often excessive blood clotting also being present. Half took 25 ml of linseed oil daily, and the other half 25 mg of sunflower oil. All received the same diet. After 7 weeks, serum IL-6 levels had decreased in the flaxseed oil group compared to the sunflower oil group. However, the blood coagulation did not improve, so the blood could not be “diluted” – despite the rather high amount of linseed oil.

It is striking that flaxseed oil mostly shows measurable benefits in sick or very overweight people, which could be one of the reasons why there are also studies in which no particular effects could be identified (e.g. when the test subjects were healthy and of normal weight).

In 2012 comes e.g. B. a placebo-controlled double-blind study with 160 patients who suffered from renal insufficiency and who already had to have dialysis. CRP levels were elevated in well over half of the patients. They received 1000 mg of linseed oil or a placebo preparation twice a day for 4 months. Flaxseed oil reduced CRP well enough to eliminate chronic inflammation in 33.3 percent of people, compared to 16.9 percent in the placebo group.

An anti-cancer diet with linseed oil

Already in the last century, the biochemist Dr. Johanna Budwig pointed out that linseed oil and linseed are excellent foods for generally increasing well-being due to their many positive effects on the organism.

As a result of her research, Dr. Budwig her special Budwig cancer diet, which she has apparently used with very good success in many of her cancer patients. In addition to plenty of raw food, lactic acid fermented vegetables, and vegetable juices, the Budwig Krebs diet includes the consumption of linseed, cold-pressed organic linseed oil, organic quark, and cottage cheese.

according to dr Budwig must be a fundamental part of the diet of linseed oil. Quark and cottage cheese are extremely important due to their high proportion of sulfurous amino acids in combination with the omega-3 fatty acids, according to Dr. Budwig, since the sulfur-containing amino acids would make the omega-3 fatty acids more easily soluble and thus better absorbable.

Linseed contains not only omega-3 fatty acids as active ingredients but also secondary plant substances, the so-called lignans. These are phytohormones that can have an estrogen-like effect, which is why they are considered to be helpful in estrogen-dependent forms of cancer.

How to take flaxseed oil for constipation

If you are constipated, it is best to take 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of linseed oil in the morning on an empty stomach, wait 10 minutes, and only have breakfast now.

Although linseed oil is considered a home remedy for constipation, according to studies it does not work better than e.g. B. Olive oil. Research on mice shows that flaxseed oil might also help with diarrhea, so it’s not simply a laxative but rather regulates digestion.

Much better known and also more effective for this purpose is the flaxseed itself – in ground form. Studies have used doses of up to 50g of ground flaxseed (consumed with meals). However, start with smaller amounts, e.g. B. 1 to 2 teaspoons to slowly get used to it and to find the right dose for you. Because it could be that even smaller doses work for you.

If you want to take flaxseed whole or ground, then it is important that you drink a lot: 150 ml of water per teaspoon of flaxseed.

Flaxseed mucilage is also occasionally used as a digestive tonic to regenerate the gastrointestinal mucosa.

How fast does linseed oil work for constipation?

At the latest 24 hours after the first-morning intake (1 tablespoon of linseed oil on an empty stomach) you should feel a digestive effect if you are constipated. If your constipation is already more severe, you may need to take the flaxseed oil for a few days before it takes effect. If the effect is slow in coming, you could also take 1 tablespoon of linseed oil in the evening before going to bed.

How much flaxseed oil do you take a day?

The dose of linseed oil that was and is also used in studies varies and can be 1 to 2 g per day or 1 to 2 tbsp per day, with 1 tbsp corresponding to 10 g.

What happens if you take 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil every day?

If you take 1 tablespoon of linseed oil every day (or 2), then it depends on what your initial situation is/was.

  • If you were constipated, it could clear up.
  • If you have high blood fat levels, the oil can help regulate them.
  • If you are a type 2 diabetic, the oil could help you control your blood sugar levels more easily.
  • If your skin was dry and sensitive, your complexion will improve.
  • Also, your blood ALA levels will most likely increase, as will your EPA levels, while your cardiovascular risk will decrease.

Are Flaxseed Oil Capsules Better Than Flaxseed Oil?

Linseed oil capsules can have the advantage that they are packaged in portions, which means that the linseed oil in the capsules is better protected against oxidation processes. Of course, capsules can also be stored incorrectly, e.g. B. too warm – and often you do not know how old the oil was before bottling. Since the capsules are swallowed, you cannot tell from the taste whether the oil is of good quality (mildly nutty) or possibly spoiled (bitter). We would therefore advise against linseed oil capsules and resort to high-quality linseed oil.

Which is better: flaxseed or flaxseed oil?

If you want to stock up on plant-based omega-3 fatty acids and aren’t sure whether flaxseed or flaxseed oil is better, the good news is: it doesn’t matter. Because both are equally effective. In one study, subjects’ ALA levels increased equally whether they consumed 12g of ALA in the form of 50g of ground flaxseed or 20g of flaxseed oil per day.

If you have certain complaints, however, depending on the study (which we present above), choose whether flaxseed or flaxseed oil is better for you. Of course, you can also alternate or combine both, e.g. For example, add ground flaxseed to muesli, bread, pizza dough, or crackers and flaxseed oil to your smoothie.

Which is better: linseed oil or hemp oil?

Flaxseed oil and hemp oil both have their benefits, so you can choose which one is right for you based on your needs. Flaxseed oil, for example, has a better omega-6-omega-3 ratio (1:4), while hemp oil has a ratio of 3:1.

More omega-3 in flaxseed oil

Therefore, if you want to supply yourself with omega-3 fatty acids in a targeted manner and with the smallest possible amount of oil (and therefore also with a lower amount of calories), linseed oil is the better choice.

  • 1 tablespoon of linseed oil (10 g) contains 5 g of omega-3 fatty acids per 90 kcal.
  • 1 tablespoon of hemp oil (10 g) contains 1.5 to 2.5 g of omega-3 fatty acids per 90 kcal.

Per 90 kcal (10 g) flaxseed oil provides at least twice, if not triple the amount of omega-3 fatty acids.

Less omega 6 in flaxseed oil

Flaxseed oil contains only a few omega-6 fatty acids, which are usually already present in sufficient quantities, if not in excess, in the rest of our diet. Hemp oil, on the other hand, provides three to four times the amount of omega-6 fatty acids.

  • 1 tablespoon of linseed oil (10 g) contains 1.5 g of omega-6 fatty acids.
  • 1 tablespoon of hemp oil (10 g) contains 5 to 6.5 g of omega-6 fatty acids.

Both oils perfect for the skin

Linseed oil and hemp oil can both be taken internally for skin care. But external use is also possible, including for the face.

Hemp oil contains a relatively large amount of gamma-linolenic acid (2-3 percent), a rare fatty acid that is otherwise only found in relevant amounts in borage seed oil (40 percent gamma-linolenic acid, GLA) and evening primrose oil (8-10 percent GLA). This fatty acid protects and strengthens the skin barrier, which is particularly helpful for skin that is already affected, such as neurodermatitis, eczema, lichen, or psoriasis.

Hemp oil has a longer shelf life

Hemp oil has a longer shelf life (unopened 8 – 12 months). Once opened, the hemp oil should also be used up quickly.

Hemp oil contains more vitamin E

Hemp oil contains 8 mg of vitamin E per tbsp, and flaxseed oil only 0.6 mg of vitamin E per tbsp. Vitamin E is considered a powerful antioxidant that reduces oxidative stress and free radicals.

Chlorophyll in both oils

Hemp oil can contain up to 2.6 mg of chlorophyll per kg (although it can also be well below 1 mg – depending on the type of hemp oil).

Linseed oil contains about 1.3 mg chlorophyll per kg, but only in raw/native linseed oil. There is only 0.06 mg of chlorophyll per kg in refined flaxseed oil. That sounds like a big loss, but oils in general aren’t particularly good sources of chlorophyll. Because you only eat a few tablespoons of them a day and 100 g of broccoli alone provides 32 mg of chlorophyll. Chlorella is also a very good source of chlorophyll. 5 g of the microalga already contains 100 mg of chlorophyll.

More carotenoids in hemp oil

At around 1 mg per kg, hemp oil clearly contains more carotenoids than flaxseed oil, because flaxseed oil contains no carotenoids at all. But as with chlorophyll, the carotenoid content of hemp oil is negligible, especially since 100 g of sweet potatoes or carrots already provide around 8 mg of carotenoids.

Ultimately, however, the taste should also decide, which differs significantly between the two oils. If you are very fond of hemp oil, know a good source of hemp oil, and consume only a few omega-6 fatty acids through the rest of your diet, hemp oil is a very good choice for cold cooking.

Can flaxseed oil be taken during pregnancy and breastfeeding?

Linseed oil has no negative effects – neither on the pregnant woman nor on the unborn child. In one study, pregnant women took 2.2 g ALA daily (approx. 5 g linseed oil/1 teaspoon) or fish oil in different doses. There was no difference between the groups with regard to the possibility of preterm birth, even compared to the control group that did not take any oil.

In a study of pregnant diabetic rats, giving flaxseed oil protected the unborn child from organ damage that would otherwise be expected from the mother’s high blood sugar levels.

Flaxseed oil also had positive effects on pregnant women who suffered from gestational diabetes and improved various diabetes values (fasting blood sugar, insulin resistance, oxidative stress, blood lipids, and hs-CRP (an inflammatory value) at a dose of 1000 mg flaxseed oil twice a day with a total of 800 mg ALA )) without any impact on the time of birth. In the linseed oil group, therefore, there was not an increased incidence of premature births, as is often warned. The infant’s birth weight was also unaffected by the flaxseed oil.

When breastfeeding, the mother can also take linseed oil. However, it must be taken into account that the intake of flaxseed oil increases the ALA content of breast milk, but not the DHA content. However, DHA is particularly important for the development of children’s brains, so pregnant and breastfeeding women should always use or take algae oil (which contains plenty of DHA) regularly, despite using linseed oil.

What to look out for when buying linseed oil

In order for your health to benefit optimally from linseed oil, the linseed oil must be of the best quality.

Some people report that flaxseed oil makes them nauseous. However, this effect generally only occurs with oil that has gone rancid. The high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids in linseed oil leads to oxidation of the fatty acids if stored improperly or for too long, making the oil inedible. It tastes bitter. Bitter linseed oil is therefore a sign of spoiled linseed oil, while high-quality linseed oil must taste mild and slightly nutty.

Therefore, linseed oil must be kept in the refrigerator and used up within a few weeks of opening. Remember that linseed oil has a maximum shelf life of 3 months from production/bottling. When the oil arrives you may have 6 to 8 weeks left.

Once the shelf life has expired, the linseed oil should no longer be used. However, you can freeze it in small portions and keep it that way for up to 6 months. Then thaw it in portions and use it immediately.

Only buy linseed oil where you can be sure that it will always arrive fresh from the oil mill at short intervals. The linseed oil should also be stored in the dark and cool at the dealer (as is the case with Myfairtrade) and certainly not on the bright and uncooled sales shelf. Of course, it should only be linseed oil from controlled organic farming, such as B. the *linseed oil from Solling.

Fresh linseed oil is pressed daily in the Solling factory. Care is taken to ensure that the oil does not come into contact with oxygen or light for long enough to prevent oxidation processes. The suspended matter is then carefully filtered out of the oil, which would further shortens its shelf life. In addition, the bottle has a special opening from which the oil can be dosed drop by drop. The advantage of this is that hardly any oxygen can penetrate through this small opening. The linseed oil is stored in a cool and dark place until it is shipped.

How much linseed oil is too much?

What applies to every medicinal plant and also to many foods also applies to linseed oil: the amount makes the poison. The critical dose is around 100 grams per day. However, since every person reacts differently, it is better not to consume more than 3 tablespoons of linseed oil (20 – 30 g) per day.

How linseed oil can be taken

Linseed oil could be taken as follows:

  • Take 1 tablespoon of pure linseed oil daily.

In the morning before breakfast, take 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of linseed oil. This procedure is particularly helpful in the case of sluggish digestion, as linseed oil stimulates digestion. If necessary, you can increase the dose to 2 tablespoons.

  • Take linseed oil capsules.

Don’t like the linseed oil? Then you could take two flaxseed oil capsules a day with a total of 1000 mg flaxseed oil, e.g. B. these *linseed oil capsules.

  • Put the linseed oil in cold dishes

You can also add linseed oil to cold dishes, e.g. B. in your smoothie, in muesli, over the salad, or after the cooking process over warm potatoes or vegetables. We present recipes with linseed oil at the top of the section “linseed oil in the kitchen”.

  • Integrate Budwig’s oil-protein diet into your diet

You can also incorporate the quark and linseed oil dish according to Johanna Budwig into your diet. This can also be prepared with vegetable quark.

Aren’t the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA much better?

In addition to the short-chain omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, there are also long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which include DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).

The two long-chain fatty acids are not found in plant foods, not even in linseed oil. Although the human organism can convert alpha-linolenic acid into EPA in particular and, to a lesser extent, into DHA (which is why officially only alpha-linolenic acid is considered essential), the conversion rate is often low and depends on numerous factors, so that it often – especially with regard to DHA – not sufficient.

It, therefore, makes sense to also take in DHA and EPA in the form of algae oils to prevent a corresponding deficiency. Because the two fatty acids have a strong anti-inflammatory effect, protect the brain and nerves and also the cardiovascular system. In the meantime, it has been assumed that the effects of DHA and EPA in this regard should be better than those of alpha-linolenic acid.

The long-chain omega-3 fatty acids can easily be taken in the form of algae oil. However, when buying the corresponding preparations, make sure that they contain a sufficiently high dose (approx. 800 mg EPA and DHA per daily dose), e.g. B. in these algae oil capsules or in this algae oil (e.g. for dressings, dips). Other oils, such as hemp, rapeseed, or sunflower oil, should not be included, as they would worsen the omega-3-omega-6 ratio.

Of course, fish and fish oils and other animal products (e.g. eggs) also contain DHA and EPA in very different amounts, but these are neither environmentally friendly nor sustainable and unsuitable for ethical reasons alone.

The disadvantages of linseed oil

Flaxseed oil has numerous health benefits. But there can also be disadvantages associated with linseed oil, which can be summarized as follows:

Linseed oil is extremely sensitive and has a short shelf life. If you have not bought high-quality oil or if the oil is stored incorrectly or for too long, it can quickly oxidize and thus quickly become unhealthy. Because oxidized oil leads to free radicals and oxidative stress in the body and thus to the contributory causes of every chronic disease.

Linseed oil “only” contains the short-chain omega-3 fatty acid ALA. However, since flaxseed oil is often touted as an omega-3-rich oil, this can lead some people to believe that flaxseed oil alone is good for omega-3 fatty acids. But that can be a fallacy. Because in addition to ALA, the organism also needs the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. If the personal conversion rate of ALA to EPA and DHA is too low, it could be detrimental to health.

Flaxseed oil is often referred to as a blood thinner, which could be detrimental to people already taking anticoagulant medications. However, as described above, this most likely only applies to diabetics. Hardly any blood-thinning effect of the linseed oil could be observed in other people.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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