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Uses of Flaxseed Oil

Supplement use should be individualized and vetted by a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian, pharmacist, or healthcare provider. No supplement is intended to treat, cure, or prevent disease.

Evidence supports some of flaxseed's many purported health benefits.

Reduce Inflammation 

Because flaxseed oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, it's commonly thought to reduce inflammation. However, studies in humans have yielded mixed results.5 

One analysis of multiple human studies found flaxseed contained compounds helpful for reducing C-reactive protein (an inflammation marker) in some study participants who experienced experienced obesity. It didn't seem beneficial in patients who did not have obesity. The analysis suggests that flaxseed oil may affect people differently; therefore, more research is needed to determine its effects on inflammation in the general population.6

In another meta-analysis (collection) of 12 studies, flaxseed oil was shown to decrease two inflammatory markers called interleukin-6 (IL-6) and malondialdehyde (MDA).7 Inflammatory markers show what is occurring in the body, so reduced levels suggest less inflammation or swelling. Flaxseed oil had no significant effect on other markers of inflammation, however.

The bottom line is that more study is needed to confirm flaxseed oil's effects on decreasing inflammation.

Promote Heart Health

The American Heart Association recommends incorporating polyunsaturated fats, like flaxseed oil, into your diet. Eating moderate amounts of these healthy fats is correlated with a lower risk of heart disease.8

Studies have found that flaxseed oil supplements can increase levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the body, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

EPA and DHA are essential compounds for promoting a healthy heart and preventing heart disease. ALA is a primary component of flaxseed oil converted to EPA and DHA in the body.5

Further clinical trials are needed to support its use for heart health.

Improve Gut Health 

Flaxseed oil has laxative properties. A study of 50 patients on hemodialysis (a treatment that filters waste and water from the blood) showed that daily flaxseed oil supplementation relieved constipation.9

A study of 75 people with ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), found that flaxseed and flaxseed oil helped reduce inflammatory markers, disease severity, blood pressure, and waist circumference.10

While flaxseed may benefit the gut, more human studies are needed to confirm these results.

Additional Uses

In addition to the potential health benefits listed above, some people may use flaxseed oil for the following:

It's important to note that more research is needed before flaxseed oil can be routinely recommended for any of these uses. There is currently very little evidence to support flaxseed oil supplementation for these conditions.