Flax Oil Side Effects and Precautions; also covers Flax Seeds

This article covers some potential flax seed and flax oil side effects and precautionary notes. The concerns regarding flax seed and flax oil is centered around four main issues, although research largely shows that intake of flax oil benefits the body and is highly advantageous to good health.

Generally, I have personally found the ingestion of flax seeds and flax oil to be safe and delightful. Flax seeds do make you go to the toilet more often, though.

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A note about Flax Oil Side Effects and Precautions; also covers Flax Seeds

Herbs are God and nature's gifts to us. While the use of herbs and herb remedies has brought excellent results for many people, do note that their health benefits may be limited when they are used in isolation. However, when combined with some basic dietary and lifestyle good health habits, such as a full body detox and a proper understanding and application of nutrition, the impact on one's health will be greatly magnified.

In natural health and healing, we believe that the body has the ability to heal itself of any disease, even supposedly incurable diseases. We also believe in holistic health and healing, as we realize that different parts of the human body are highly interlinked, often beyond Man’s understanding. It is thus a good idea to apply these fundamental health steps no matter how remote or unrelated a health condition may seem.

Broadly speaking, most of the side effects mentioned below relate more to flax seeds rather than being flax oil side effects per se, but, in any case, they are discussed in entirety.

High fiber load

For those individuals who are not used to high fiber in their diets, it is recommended to start taking flax seeds in small amounts and to gradually increase the portion of intake incrementally over a period of time. This is to avoid cramping and the "laxative effect", which can result from a sudden spike in dietary fiber.

Also, individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (or IBS for short) should be cautious, since they may have a strong reaction to the intake of flax seeds.

Hormonal Flax Seed Oil Side Effects

Flax seeds have high amounts of lignans, and lignans contain phytoestrogens. The potential side effects from high quantities of dietary phytoestrogens, arising from high doses of flax seeds, have not been conclusively researched. Hence, caution is advised and required, to avoid suffering from possible flax seed and flax oil side effects.


One of the constituents of flax seeds are very small amounts of cyanide compounds, which is also found in trace amounts in some varieties of beans, cashews, and others, if eaten raw. These cyanide compounds are a possible source of flax seed and flax oil side effects.

Applying heat on dry flax seeds is effective in breaking these compounds down.

A permitted or safe level of flax in the diet as per US government agencies is 2 tablespoons of flaxseed (3 tablespoons of flax meal). This is certainly safe and is probably an "effective dose" for health purposes.

Various researchers who have used up to 6 daily tablespoons of the seed in different studies indicate that the amount they were using was safe.

Oxidation / Rancidity leading to possible Flax Oil Side Effects

This is not so much a flax oil side effect, as it is a note of precaution regarding storage and handling of flax seed oil.

Since flax oil is unsaturated, should it be exposed to open air, it is likely to become oxidized quickly, leading to rancidity. Hence, flax seed oil has to be stored in the correct manner.

The very best method is the natural method, with the oil remaining within the seed. Therefore, it is best to store the seeds in a storage space not exposed to large amounts of heat, and the seeds enjoy a prolonged shelf life of a year at the very least.

However, flax meal or flax oil will keep fresh for a few months if stored in a cool, dark storage space. This is why flax seed oil always comes in opaque bottles. Do not buy any flax seed oil which is stored in translucent or transparent bottles, as exposure to light also destroys the health benefits of flax seed oil.

Flax seed oil should be consumed within a few weeks of opening the bottle, and it must be kept refrigerated.

Note that most commercial oils can be stored in transparent bottles, exposed to the air and light and not go bad. This is because they have been processed. Unfortunately, while such processing increases the stability and shelf life of the oils, it also destroys their healthful properties.

When purchasing flax seed oil, make sure it is pure, unfiltered, unprocessed and unrefined.

Conclusion on Flax Seed and Flax Oil Side Effects

Personally, I add flax seeds to my food, and also consume them as part of certain herbal dietary formulas.

As for flax oil, I take it with salads, and also as part of the flax oil and cottage cheese mixture. I have gone as high as ten tablespoons a day.

In both cases, besides the flax seeds causing more frequent bowel movements, I have not encountered any notable flax seed or flax oil side effects. So, as long as common sense is exercised, I believe the flax plant is a very safe and beneficial food and herb to consume.

Flax Pages | Flax Plant - History and Information | Flax Seed Benefits - Flax Seed Nutrition | Health Benefits of Flax Seeds | Benefits of Flax Seed Oil | Flax Seed Oil Benefits - Tips On Obtaining Them | Flax Oil and Cottage Cheese - FOCC, the Incredible Mixture | Flax Oil Side Effects and Precautions

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