Comprehensive Guide to Flaxseed Oil and Alpha-Linolenic Acid

Flaxseed Oil and Alpha-Linolenic AcidDr. James Meschino DC, MS, ND
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General Features
Flaxseed Oil and Alpha-Linolenic Acid Quick Guide
Flaxseed Oil is a very rich source of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fat that the body can slowly convert to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). EPA is the prominent omega-3 fat found within fish and fish oil that is linked to the prevention of heart disease, cancer and demonstrates anti-inflammatory properties.
Flaxseed Oil supplementation can help the body achieve a more optimal ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids, which is considered to be 4:1.5 The North American diet provides a 20:1 ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids, which is thought to contribute to the development of many chronic degenerative diseases.
Various polyunsaturated fats of the omega-6 and omega-3 series give rise to the formation of eicosanoids, including prostaglandins (hormone-like substances that regulate local tissue inflammation, proliferation and other factors). Studies reveal that supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids and lowering the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio results in increase of synthesis of anti-inflammatory and more health-promoting prostaglandins.
Studies reveal that Flaxseed Oil has a favourable effect on the immune system and that its alpha-linolenic acid is converted to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), the immediate precursor of prostaglandin series-3 derivatives.
Supplementation Studies and Clinical Applications
Flaxseed Oil and Alpha-Linolenic Acid Quick Guide
1. Anti-inflammatory and Autoimmune Reaction
Some evidence suggests that Flaxseed Oil inhibits autoimmune reactions as well as fish oil (EPA). It may take a little longer, but it is less expensive and Flaxseed Oil does not produce the fish smelling regurgitation associated with fish oil supplementation.
2. Cancer
Dr. Joanna Budwig of Germany is a leading expert on essential fatty acid nutrition and has built an international reputation for treating cancer and other degenerative diseases with Flaxseed Oil.12 A major study demonstrated that the combination of high dose antioxidants with essential fatty acids (including alpha-linolenic acid) was able to halt the further progression of breast cancer in a group of 32 affected women, with spread of their condition to the axillary lymph nodes. Supplementation was initiated as an adjustment to standard breast cancer treatment.
3. Heart Disease
Alpha-linolenic acid has been reported to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, in preliminary trials.
Dosage Range
Flaxseed Oil and Alpha-Linolenic Acid Quick Guide
Flaxseed Oil supplementation for most applications is in the range of 1,000-4,000 mg per day.
Contraindications and Toxicity
Flaxseed Oil toxicity has not been reported at the above levels of intake and there are no known contraindications.
Drug-Nutrient Interactions
There are no well-known drug interactions with Flaxseed Oil.
Flaxseed Oil and Alpha-Linolenic Acid Quick Guide
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