Flaxseed oil is a natural oil that comes from the seeds of a blue flowering plant . For some time now it has been known that this tiny seed possesses all kinds of nutrients and substances that can be beneficial to your health and well being and that flaxseed oil is an effective way to gain access to many of these benefits if you do not want to consume the seed itself.
What is in Flaxseed Oil?
It surprises many people to learn that flaxseed oil contains both omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids – acids similar to the beneficial fatty acids found in fish oil. Flaxseed oil has been found to be beneficial in helping to treat and/or prevent a number of different health conditions and a flaxseed oil supplement can make a great addition to the daily health regime of many people.
Flaxseed Oil BenefitsThe following are some of the health conditions that it is believed can lessened or prevented by taking flaxseed oil on a regular basis:
- Heart Disease – One of the fatty acids found in flaxseed oil – alpha-linolenic acid or ALA as it is more commonly known – has long been thought to help prevent heart disease. In Mediterranean countries where there is a far lower instance of heart disease as there is in other parts of the Western world most people eat a daily diet that is rather low in saturated and trans fat but rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which include omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseed and flaxseed oil.
Some research has shown that people who consume higher levels of ALA are at far less risk of suffering a fatal heart attack and there have been some recent studies that seem to indicate that ALA may be effective in helping to reduce high cholesterol levels as well.
- Inflammation – Flaxseed oil has been found to be an effective anti inflammatory, not just for the bones joints and muscles but for bodily functions as well. Some studies have found a decrease in the amount of airway inflammation experienced by asthma patients can be achieved by taking a flaxseed or flaxseed oil supplement. This reduction in inflammation leads to a reduction in the number and severity of full blown attacks an asthma sufferer experiences.
- Sjogren’s Syndrome – Sjogren’s Syndrome is a disease of the auto immune system that attacks the glands that make tears and cases sufferers to have to live with painful dry eyes. Previously they had to take a prescription medication to help relive the condition but now it has been found that a daily dose of flaxseed oil can work just as well.
Flaxseed Oil and Weight Loss
Over the last several years much has been made of flaxseed’s possible role in healthy weight loss. Thanks to the ALA and other natural polyunsaturated facts many people seem to have found that taking a flaxseed oil supplement, or mixing flaxseed oil in water as a drink. Some people are even using it as a salad dressing as it does have a pleasant, nutty taste and does not contain the “bad” fats that some other salad dressings do.
Whichever way they take flaxseed oil it seems to help them lose weight and then keep it off by reducing food cravings, producing a feeling of fullness faster and by stimulating the metabolism, encouraging the body to burn more calories and fat for energy.
Flaxseed Oil Side Effects
It is perfectly safe for many people to take a flaxseed supplement but it is not right for everyone. Flaxseed and flaxseed oil has a mild blood thinning effect so people who already take a prescription blood thinner should probably avoid flaxseed oil and the same holds true for people scheduled to have surgery in the near future as excessive bleeding may occur. In addition pregnant women should consult with their doctor before taking a flaxseed supplement as its possible effects on pregnant women is something that very little research has been done on so far.
Flaxseed Oil for DogsIt is not just humans who can benefit from flaxseed oil, their canine companion s can as well. Vets recommend that their dog patients – and cat patients too – be given a flaxseed oil supplement to help them maintain a healthy, shiny coat, something that it does thanks to the ALA it contains.
Flaxseed oil is especially beneficial for dogs who suffer from skin irritations, which many of them do. Massaging the coat and skin with flaxseed oil can help relieve dry skin and itching and does not irritate sensitive skin as some chemical dog shampoos can.
Dogs and cats can also benefit from flaxseed oil’s anti inflammatory properties every bit as much as humans can. As dogs get older they develop all kinds of joint pain but are of course unable to tell their owners about it, although it will often become apparent by a slower walk or difficulty climbing stairs.
A dose of flaxseed oil every day for all dogs is believed to help this problems from developing as well as alleviate those that have already occurred.
How much flaxseed oil a dog should be given is usually determined by his weight, a vet will usually be able to tell you how much would be right for your pet but a ½ to 1 tablespoon a day is a common dosage. Do not give your pet to much flaxseed orally though as that can lead to diarrhea.