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Flaxseed Oil

Flaxseed Oil

54% of Americans are overweight, and 22% of them are considered obese... How is it that while it seems everyone is following a low fat diet, the population is getting fatter? With many following a "low fat" diet to stay healthy, and prevent being overweight, why are we still putting on fat weight? The answer is it's not too much fat, it's not enough of the "right" kind of fat.

In reality, many Americans are suffering from a massive fat deficiency that is contributing to the rise of obesity, diabetes, arthritis, breast cancer, depression, immune-system dysfunction, PMS, hyperactivity in children, and many more ill-fated complications common today. Believe it or not, as in you have to eat to lose weight, it takes (good) fat to lose (bad) fat. This is one of the problems with many "low-fat" nutrition programs offered these days. While they do help people shed unwanted bodyfat, they don't necessarily do so in a healthily. "Good fats", also known as essential fatty acids (EFA's), on the other hand, actually increase our metabolic rate and improve our overall health at the same time.

Essential fats are so named because they are "essential" to our body's normal cell functioning, and we cannot produce them on our own; thus, they must be supplemented or consumed as part of our normal diets. EFA's are required for our overall health, including proper metabolism, energy production, regulation of cell functions, and healing of tissues and injuries. EFA's can help us stay fit and healthy, while those dreaded unhealthy "bad" fats, such as the processed fats and saturated fats found in fried foods or margarine, compromise health and performance.

Flaxseed is one of the "best" readily available sources of EFA's. Flaxseed contains a very important substance known as omega-3 fats, labeled by many leading nutritionists as "the fat that heals." Like most unsaturated oils, flaxseed oil contains linolenic acid, but flaxseed differs from most vegetable oils because it contains alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is high in these all-important omega-3 fats. In fact, it is the best-known source of alpha-linolenic acid available, as well as being a good source of some very important vitamins and minerals.

Support for an active lifestyle....

Active people report that flaxseed supplements help them recover more quickly after workouts and help decrease post-workout muscle soreness. Researchers believe this effect may be because flaxseed has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies suggest that flaxseed aids in the transfer of oxygen from the lungs to the bloodstream, decreases muscle breakdown, and supports hormone secretions by regulating prostaglandins. Prostoglandins are hormone-like substances that support many of the major systems in our bodies, including our reproductive, immune, and nervous systems.

Researchers also believe flaxseed oil may increase the body's metabolic rate and help the body burn fat more quickly. Animal studies support this theory, although more research is needed to determine if it is an effective weight-loss tool for humans.

Many athletes report that using flaxseed oil in their diets helps their sprains and bruises heal more rapidly. According to some initial findings, minor injuries can take a mere one-quarter of the healing time normally required. Research suggests this may be due to flaxseed's anti-inflammatory properties. Controlled studies are currently being conducted to document or disprove this theory. But for now, it looks promising.

Therapeutic uses?

Recent studies suggest flaxseed oil offers powerful cardiovascular protection by improving arterial circulation, arterial function, and energy production. And, as little as one tablespoon of flaxseed oil a day has also been shown to significantly lower blood pressure.

The National Cancer Institute became interested in flaxseed after European studies revealed it could shrink certain tumors and combat cancers found in breast, prostate, and lung cells. It is currently being examined more extensively for these potential benefits.

Flaxseed also contains a type of anti-inflammatory agent that may help relieve the painful symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and other inflammatory conditions. It also helps construct the membranes in every cell in the body, protecting them from harmful invaders and contributing to their structural integrity.

High protein diet? Take note....

Too much protein in our daily diet, as is easily achieved following such diets as the Atkin's diet, where there is next to no fibre, and what tends to happen? The unpleasantness of constipation occurs. Working in opposition of protein's tendency to constipate, flaxseed oil helps us to be more "regular." And it does so without adding "fattening" or bad fats to the diet.

Another study showed that free testosterone levels tend to drop drastically when "low-fat" diets or calorie-restricted diets are employed. Even a small decrease in dietary fats was revealed to have reduced the amount of free testosterone by 13%. However, with the introduction of healthy, "good" fats into the diet, such as those found in flaxseed oil, researchers found subjects free testosterone levels increased. Supplementing with flaxseed oil during times of dieting would appear useful for those seeking to increase or at least preserve their lean mass.


One of the downsides to flaxseed in the form of oil is its instability when exposed to light, air, heat, or metal. For that reason, some individuals prefer taking flaxseed oil in capsule form or including flaxseeds in their daily diet regimen. But a working refrigerator is all that is needed to keep your flaxseed oil fresh and cold.


While the research on flaxseed continues, many sports nutrition experts are already highly recommending this powerful "good" fat. Since the research has already revealed flaxseed oil may support healthy hormone secretions, decrease muscle soreness, decrease healing time, and fight both free radicals and inflammation, among other possible uses, it could supply your body with an extra aid for recovery and allow you to exercise more intensely, or just live a healthier lifestyle in general.

© 2006 Asylum Training