Flaxseed is a popular nutritional supplement found in a wide variety of foods and health products. Flaxseed and flaxseed products have many beneficial components, such as antioxidants, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, but some users experience side effects from them. Some of the most common flaxseed side effects include bowel irritations and nutritional absorption problems. These particular side effects typically occur when too much flaxseed is taken.
The ancient Babylonians first cultivated flaxseed in 3000 B.C., and it has been revered as a useful health supplement since then. Flaxseed comes from a small, annual plant that has blue flowers and thin leaves. The actual flaxseed usually is brown or golden in color. Flaxseed might be consumed as a whole intact seed or in the forms of ground meal, powder and oil.
Flaxseed has many nutritional components and features. It contains protein, vitamin E, vitamin B, calcium, iron, sterols, potassium, antioxidants and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is an essential omega-3 fatty acid. When in seed, ground meal or powder form, flaxseed contains both soluble and insoluble fiber daily requirements. The high-fiber properties make flaxseed a common aid for constipation and digestion health problems.
The recommendation for adults is one or two tablespoons (14-28 g) of ground flaxseed per day. When larger quantities are taken, flaxseed side effects might include worsened constipation or intestinal blockages. Sometimes the fiber in flaxseed hinders the body’s ability to absorb other oral medications taken by the person. Other flaxseed side effects are diarrhea and hormonal imbalance.
There are several ways to prevent the most common flaxseed side effects. For example, when consumed in oil form, flaxseed does not have dietary fiber. Some people grind the flaxseed themselves to ensure that they do not exceed the daily requirements. Others keep a list of everything they eat in a day to keep track of how much flaxseed they’ve actually eaten. This can be helpful because many common products, such as oatmeal, cereal and muffins, already have flaxseed added to them.
People should consume plenty of water when eating products with flaxseed or taking flaxseed supplements. This can help to prevent the flaxseed side effects of constipation and irritated bowels. Another way to avoid issues is for people to talk to their doctors about any and all complementary medicines and supplements they take. Most health practitioners will be able to see potential problems and risks of combining certain medications or vitamins with flaxseed.