Linseed Oil Benefit
Linseed oil may prevent heart disease, reduce cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and slow down
atherosclerosis; research finds. Linseed oil may also be benefitial to bipolar disorder, cancer prevention or
even rheumatoid arthritis. Moreover, more scientific evidence is needed to support this argument.
Linseed oil is derived from the hard, tiny seeds of the flax plant. Like fish oil, linseed oil contains an omega-3
fatty acid = alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). In addition to alpha-linolenic acid, linseed oil also contains omega-6 fatty
acids. Both acids are essential to health. A typical dosage of flaxseed oil is 1-2 tablespoons.
RESEARCH FINDINGS FOR LINSEED OIL BENEFITS
Phospholipase A2 hydrolyzes fatty acids from membrane phospholipids: liberated omega-6 PUFAs are
metabolized to prostaglandins with a higher inflammatory potential. Intervention trials in human subjects show
that omega-3 fatty acids have possible positive effects in the treatment of various psychiatric disorders. Haag M.
Essential fatty acids and the brain. Can J Psychiatry. 2003 Apr;48(3):195-203
Alpha-Linolenic acid (linseed oil) significantly decreased hepatic cholesterol but no effect was observed on
heart and kidney cholesterol levels. Yang L et al alpha-Linolenic acid but not conjugated linolenic acid is hypocholesterolaemic in
hamsters. : Br J Nutr. 2005 Apr;93 (4):433-8.
Alpha-linolenic acid (linseed oil) may reduce cardiovascular risk through platelet function and inflammation.
Mozaffarian D. Does alpha-linolenic acid intake reduce the risk of coronary heart disease? A review of the evidence. Altern Ther Health Med. 2005
May-Jun;11 (3):24-30; quiz 31, 79.
Spray-dried milk formulations supplemented with linseed oil are probably effective to decrease the risk factors
associated with cardiovascular disease. Ramaprasad TR et al, Supplementation and delivery of n-3 fatty acids through spray-dried milk
reduce serum and liver lipids in rats. Lipids. 2004 Jul;39(7):627-32.
Studies in rats suggest that alpha-linolenic acid (linseed oil) may be more effective in preventing ventricular
fibrillations than eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acid. Ristic-Medic D et al, Alpha-linolenic acid* and cardiovascular
diseases. Med Pregl. 2003;56 Suppl 1:19-25. *flaxseed oil
Dietary linseed oil exerted antiarrhythmic effects during ischemia-reperfusion in rabbit hearts, possibly through
shortening of the action potential. Ander BP et al, Dietary flaxseed protects against ventricular fibrillation induced by ischemia-reperfusion
in normal and hypercholesterolemic Rabbits. J Nutr. 2004 Dec;134(12):3250-6.
In healthy horses supplemented with linseed oil, platelet aggregation was not altered. Hansen RA et al, Effects of dietary
flaxseed oil supplementation on equine plasma fatty acid concentrations and whole blood platelet aggregation. J Vet Intern Med. 2002
Dietary level of alpha-linolenic acid (10% linseed oil) results in modest improvements in some bone outcomes in
a study of mice. Cohen SL et al, Flaxseed oil and inflammation-associated bone abnormalities in interleukin-10 knockout mice. J Nutr Biochem.
2005 Jun;16 (6):368-74.
Linseed oil slowed down early fibrosis progression in renal injury of mice. Sankaran D. Modulation of renal injury in pcy mice
by dietary fat containing n-3 fatty acids depends on the level and type of fat. Lipids. 2004 Mar;39(3):207-14.
MICE Mice were injected with human breast cancer cells and fed basal diet. Excisions of tumor were performed,
when the tumors reached 110 mm. Linseed oil supplementation was found to achieve a greater reduction in
lung and total metastases. Chen J et al Flaxseed and its components reduce metastasis after surgical excision of solid human breast tumor
in mice. Cancer Lett. 2005 May 2
In a study of mouse, linseed oil combined with melatonin caused a significant decrease in the number and size
of tumors. High doses of linseed oil could also delay in the growth of mammary cancers. Rao GN, Effect of melatonin
and linolenic acid on mammary cancer in transgenic mice with c-neu breast cancer oncogene. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2000 Dec;64(3):287-96.
Supplementation with linseed oil for 13 weeks after carcinogen administration was found to reduce established
mammary cancer size in rats. Thompson LU et al, The effect of flaxseed oil may be related to its high alpha-linolenic acid. Carcinogenesis.
HUMAN In a study of 16 premenopausal women, linseed supplementation was observed to significantly increase
the urinary 2:16alpha-OHE1 ratio which indicated flaxseed may be chemoprotective in premenopausal women.
Haggans CJ The effect of flaxseed and wheat bran consumption on urinary estrogen metabolites in premenopausal women. Cancer Epidemiol
Biomarkers Prev. 2000 Jul;9(7):719-25.
Linseed oil is effective in preventing colon tumor development when compared with dietary corn oil in rats.
Dwivedi C et al, Chemopreventive effects of dietary flaxseed oil on colon tumor development. Nutr Cancer. 2005;51(1):52-8.
Linseed oil did not increase the effect of dietary therapy in correction of glycemia, hypertension and
atherogenic lipid levels. Alekseeva RI et al, Effects of a diet including linseed oil on clinical and metabolic parameters in patients with type 2
diabetes mellitus. Vopr Pitan. 2000;69(6):32-5.
The PGE2 concentrations were decreased in livers and tumours of rats fed linseed oil. Jelinska M., Effects of dietary
linseed, evening primrose or fish oils on fatty acid and prostaglandin E2 contents in the rat livers and 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene-induced
tumours. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2003 Apr 17;1637(3):193-9.
Spontaneous tumorigenesis in the liver of male C3H/He mice bred for 50 wk was suppressed by being supplied
with linseed oil. Thuy NT et al, Comparative effect of dietary olive, safflower, and linseed oils* on spontaneous liver tumorigenesis in C3H/He
mice. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2001 Oct;47(5):363-6.
In a study of rats, flaxseed oil feeding produced hepatic and renal enrichments of n-3 PUFA and an increase in
C18:>C18 PUFA ratios. The linseed oil-based diet was associated with lower mean cystic. Thus, linseed oil
feeding moderates renal injury and the consumption of linseed oil-based products may provide health benefit.
Ogborn MR et al, Dietary flax oil reduces renal injury, oxidized LDL content, and tissue n-6/n-3 FA ratio in experimental polycystic kidney disease.
Lipids. 2002 Nov;37(11):1059-65.
UVB-INDUCED SKIN INJURY
Anti-inflammatory activity of dietary linseed oil was demonstrated in UVB-irradiated hairless mice. UVB-induced
prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production was significantly lower in rats fed an ALA-rich (linseed oil) diet after UVB
irradiation. Takemura N et al, Dietary, but not topical, alpha-linolenic acid suppresses UVB-induced skin injury in hairless mice when compared
with linoleic acids. Photochem Photobiol. 2002 Dec;76(6):657-63.
LINSEED OIL SIDE EFEECT
Up to the date this article is prepared, serious linseed oil side effects have not been reported. Linseed oil
appears to be a safe nutritional supplement when used as recommended. However, people who are at high risk
of cancer should not take linseed oil, unless they are under physician's advice.
Linseed oil is not safe when it is heated for a long time. The heated linseed oil side effect include liver
enlargement or even liver damage. The fume from heated flaxseed oil may cause cancer. While, high dose
linseed oil side effects include non-formed feces, depression, anorexia, mild colic, high serum glucose and
bilirubin levels. [based on animal studies]. Linseed oil side effects, based on research findings are summarized
Cooking linseed oil fumes may increase lung cancer risk. Metayer C. et al Cooking oil fumes and risk of lung cancer in women in
rural Gansu, China. Lung Cancer. 2002 Feb;35(2):111-7.
Horses given large doses of linseed oil had nonformed feces by 24 hours after the first administration of linseed
oil in a study. During or after two weeks flaxseed oil supplementation, some horses also developed depression,
anorexia, mild colic, high serum glucose and bilirubin levels. Schumacher J et al, Clinical and clinicopathologic effects of large
doses of raw linseed oil* as compared to mineral oil in healthy horses. J Vet Intern Med. 1997 Sep-Oct;11(5):296-9.*flaxseed oil
Linseed oil turned to be toxic when it was heated at high temperatures. During gestation and lactation, female
rats fed with heated linseed oil. Newborn rats found dead and their livers were heavier and higher in lipid
content. Potteau B. Influence of heated linseed oil* on reproduction in the female rat and on the composition of hepatic lipids in young rats Ann
Nutr Aliment. 1976;30(1):67-88.*flaxseed oil.