Scientific verdict on flaxseed oil? Please help clarify


I’m confused. I see conflicting information on flaxseed oil. Some sources say high in omega 3. Others say, not the form of omega 3 that the body can use…and thus the omega 6 ratio is then too high.

So…which is it…good or bad?

(Richard Morris) #2

As I understand it flax is just not as effective, because the omega 3 polyunsaturated fat ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) in flax, has to be first converted into the 2 useful omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids that are in fish - EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

Also that conversion is inhibited by omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids … so if you eat a lot of omega 6 polyunsaturated seed oil, you need a much higher amount of linseed oil to get enough converted into DHA and EPA.


I’ve also heard flax seed is one of the things you should avoid if you have thyroid issues. Maybe @kimhowerton @Donna @Daisy can chime in on this.

If you do buy flaxseed, make sure it doesn’t go rancid on you. The less heat the better too. And grinding it helps absorption, but keep it in the fridge after grinding.

(Meeping up the Science!) #4

In addition to what @richard said, not everyone can convert the flax oils correctly, even when the dietary balance requirements are met. No science on me alas as I am still waking up. However, I don’t ever really find that there is a compelling reason to add flax to the diet unless it’s accidental.

If you have any autoimmunity, flax is one of the foods that may be immune reactive, so it’s best to avoid it. The majority of people who are hypothyroid are actually for autoimmune reasons, so… you may see improvement without it.