polyunsaturated fatty acids such as alpha-linolenic acid. The alpha-linolenic acid and related chemicals in flaxseed oil seem to decrease inflammation. That is why flaxseed oil is thought to be useful for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory (swelling) diseases.
In this Article
Large doses of 30 grams per day and higher can cause loose stools and diarrhea. Allergic reactions have occurred while taking flaxseed oil.
Some men worry that taking flaxseed oil might increase their chance of getting prostate cancer because of the alpha-linolenic acid that flaxseed oil contains. Researchers are still trying to figure out the role of alpha-linolenic acid in prostate cancer. Some studies suggest that alpha-linolenic acid may increase risk or make existing prostate cancer worse, but other studies find no connection. Nevertheless, the alpha-linolenic acid in flaxseed oil does not seem to be a problem. Alpha-linolenic acid from plant sources, such as flaxseed, does not seem to affect prostate cancer risk, although alpha-linolenic acid from dairy and meat sources has been linked in some studies with prostate cancer.
Not enough is known about the safety of flaxseed oil when it is applied to the skin.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy: Flaxseed oil is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth during pregnancy. Some research suggests that flaxseed oil might increase the chance of premature birth when taken during the second or third trimesters of pregnancy. However, other research suggests that taking flaxseed oil might be safe starting from the second or third trimester and continuing until delivery. Until more is known, pregnant women should avoid taking flaxseed oil.
Children: Flaxseed is POSSIBLY SAFE for children when taken by mouth, short-term.
Breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information available about the safety of flaxseed oil during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid using flaxseed oil while breast-feeding until more is known.
Bleeding disorders: Flaxseed oil might increase the risk of severe bleeding in patients with bleeding disorders. Talk to your healthcare provider before using flaxseed oil if you have a bleeding disorder.
Surgery: Flaxseed oil might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using it at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.