Does Flaxseed Oil Work?
Does Flaxseed Oil Work for High Cholesterol or Heart Disease?
Preliminary studies have demonstrated that flaxseed (not flaxseed oil) can help lower cholesterol, although the evidence is not conclusive. Larger, more carefully designed studies are necessary before it can be said with certainty that flaxseed lowers cholesterol. People assume that flaxseed oil also provides these benefits, but this is not a safe assumption. Until research demonstrates that flaxseed oil is beneficial for such uses, it is best to take flaxseed, not flaxseed oil, for such purposes.
Studies have shown that high dietary intake of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) can significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks and heart disease in general. ALA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is abundant in flaxseed oil. Although studies have not looked at using flaxseed oil for heart disease prevention, it may be reasonable to assume that flaxseed oil will be beneficial, since it contains ALA.
Does Flaxseed Oil Work for Menopause Symptoms?
Many women are interested in the benefits of flaxseed oil for natural menopause relief. Research suggests that flaxseed (not flaxseed oil) may be helpful for mild menopause symptoms, including hot flashes and night sweats. Because flaxseed oil does not contain the phytoestrogens found in flaxseed, it is expected that flaxseed oil will not provide any benefit for menopause symptoms.
Research in favor of flaxseed oil is generally lacking, and flaxseed oil is probably not the miraculous "cure-all" that it is sometimes claimed to be. It is especially important to understand the differences between flaxseed and flaxseed oil, since they do not provide the same health benefits.