Flaxseed oil

by on June 4, 2007 at 7:52 pm in Medicine | Permalink

Every night I take two tablespoons, inspired by Seth Roberts, who is up to four and within my sights.  This is not good for my weight but it is very good for my heart, my brain, and my gums.  For most people the value of the dose should be strongly positive.  The Omega-3 ingredient has a scientific consensus in its favor, with no evidence for negative side effects.  Here are Seth’s posts on the topic.

By the way, Seth’s The Shangri-La Diet is now out in paperback.

1 pinus June 4, 2007 at 8:02 pm

OMG. I better go out for a run. Good for everything 😉

2 ricpic June 4, 2007 at 8:29 pm

I get my omega-3 in fish oil (pill form, 2 pills twice daily, 4,000 mg. total). Is there an advantage to flaxseed oil over fish oil? P.S. I don’t suffer any fishy aftertaste.

3 Justin Tetley June 4, 2007 at 8:50 pm

I don’t know which oil is a better source of omega 3’s, but I do know flax seed is a better source overall than fish. I buy flax seeds at the store and then grind it into a powder with a coffee grinder. Then you can add the power to a protein shake, peanut butter sandwich, yogurt, etc. When you eat the ground seed instead of just the oil, you get the other nutrients found in the seed, as nature intended. And it’s very inexpensive.

4 Jon Moyer June 4, 2007 at 9:22 pm

Why not just eat more salmon and walnuts?

5 Macneil June 4, 2007 at 9:58 pm

Be sure to get one that says “with lignans” on the bottle.

I like to try to mix up brands and stores where I buy it, just in case one of them isn’t properly refrigerating or transporting it.

Or, you can crack your own, with proper appliances, and sprinkle it on a salad.

6 tommy June 4, 2007 at 10:21 pm

This is not good for my weight but it is very good for my heart, my brain, and my gums.

Actually, it might be good for your weight. Some studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may aid in fat loss.

(P.S. I don’t want to pester you Tyler, and it is no big hurry, but did you perhaps forget about the email I sent you asking for advice on studying economics?)


I’ve always heard that fish oil is a better source of omega 3 than flax oil. Do you know something I don’t?

In normal human metabolism, flaxseed oil is converted to the same omega-3 acids that are in fish oil. Fish oil contains eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. The alpha-linolenic acid in flaxseed oil is converted into these two acids in the body. Some people with abnormal metabolism or diabetes reportedly do better with fish oil.

7 Niall June 4, 2007 at 10:52 pm

Note that on Amazon that the hardcover edition is $3.99. Nearly 60% less than the paperback version ($9.56). Unless you really see this as product differentiation (i.e. hate carrying around clunky hardcovers), act fast to get a deal. My theories are an one or combination of the following: (1) that there must be a limited supply of the hardcovers remaining and the demand has dried up, so Amazon has lowered the price significantly, (2) readers have been waiting for the paperback to come along and act quickly to get the 20% off-the-cover price of the paperback without checking the price of the hardcover, (3) people never heard of the book before and react with spontaneity to Tyler (and Tyler wannabes) thinking that the paperback must be cheaper, (4) there really is a lot of perceived product differentiation in the book market, which allows Amazon to create a two-tariff pricing model.

8 David June 4, 2007 at 11:30 pm

I shake my head as I can’t help thinking of Barry Bonds.

9 Seth Roberts June 5, 2007 at 12:29 am

I drink flaxseed oil with my nose clipped shut. To make it easier to drink I mix it with about a quarter-cup of water.

Here is a good summary of precautions and drug interactions:


10 barjac June 5, 2007 at 12:36 am

Actually omega-3 consumption can have the side effect of reducing ability to clot. Same with consumption of vitamin E. If one has a reduced ability to clot for whatever reason, or say, family history of hemorrhagic stroke, one should consider before really ramping up the dose of omega-3 oils. If one is taking an aspirin, blood thinners, eating a lot of chocolate or nuts, etc, or ginkgo extract, this can lead to nosebleeds, for example, as an external symptom. Of course that is just on the outside. Every economist knows there is no free lunch.

11 Naadir Jeewa June 5, 2007 at 4:37 am

Surely, the main issue with fish-sourced Omega-3 is sustainability. MorEPA, which provides the amount of Omega-3 as in Durham trial requires 10 gallons of fish oil to make a gallon of concentrate.

You clearly need deep-sea fishing techniques, and these could potentially be disastrous.

12 DK June 5, 2007 at 7:05 am

barjac, what effect do chocolate and nuts have on bleeding? haven’t heard that one before, but maybe i should.

13 Pat Mathews June 5, 2007 at 10:03 am

Weight Watchers suggests two teaspoons a day.

14 anon lawyer June 5, 2007 at 1:18 pm

Fish oil is indeed superior. Your body’s ability to convert ALA to DHA and EPA gets worse as you get older. Generally, the studies that measure the positive effects administer and measure DHA and EPA, not ALA. I believe the efficacy comes from balancing your Omega-3 (ALA, DHA and EPA are all Omega-3 fatty acids) intake with your Omega-6 — modern diets, particularly western diets, have skewed mightily toward Omega-6 consumption in the last century. Also as an interesting side note, men need more DHA than EPA relative to women.

15 Bill Stepp June 5, 2007 at 8:52 pm

How about Udo’s Choice high lignan Udo’s 3 6 9 Oil Blend? It contains fish oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, evening primrose oil, rice germ and bran oil, soy lecithin, oat germ and bran oil, mixed tocophenols. It comes in three sizes.

Two tbsps. with yogurt and (organic) raspberries or blueberries in the morning.
At least it’s better than the smell of napalm in the morning, I gather.

Btw, a Cambridge (UK)-educated chemist told me to put a pinch of vitamin C powder into bottled water (I don’t drink tap). Apparently it neutralizes a nasty reaction of the water and the plastic; the effect lasts for an hour, he claimed. I use Natrol Ester-C.
No, I don’t know if his claim is valid.

16 NeedleFactory June 6, 2007 at 11:44 am

I told a fine nutritionist that a fine economist,
inspired by Seth Roberts, was imbibing flaxseed oil
and asked her opinion. She wrote back:

The guy’s experiment isn’t even single blind, let
alone double blind. Sounds like he’s expecting or
hoping to get the results he’s getting. So I don’t
trust them… and no, I never heard anything about
flaxseed affecting brain function. The omega-3 fat
involved with brain function is DHA, found in fish.
Our bodies make DHA from the shorter flaxseed omega-3
fatty acids, but not “to order” the way this guy assumes.

17 Murphy June 11, 2007 at 1:49 pm

I do not know which is better intrinsically, flaxseed or fish oil. But for the overall environment flaxseed wins hands down. To obtain fish oil, companies wipe out whole populations of menhaden and other similar oily small fish. In the Chesapeake, the take of menhaden is negatively affecting macro life in the bay. Larger fish are starving to death. The lack of menhaden eating plant life is contributing to algae blooms which are toxic to large fish, crabs and oysters. Lets be aware that improving our health to the detriment of the environment around us may not be worthwhile. Sometimes the second best source is the best overall.

18 Ruth Bradford August 12, 2007 at 8:39 pm

I take Warfarin Is it safe to take Flaxseed oil

19 flaxseedrules August 21, 2007 at 7:50 pm


20 Michelle October 5, 2007 at 2:46 pm

I have angina and lung problems for the past three years.I began taking flaxseed oil capsules three times a day,for the past four months.My chest pain is GONE!!!My Lung function has greatly improved.I would recommend it to everyone !!! Socretes the father of modern medicine said LET FOOD BE YOUR MEDICINE AND MEDICINE BE YOUR FOOD.

21 jarry January 7, 2008 at 1:11 am

I come from asia, injoy 室內設計,work in a 搬家公司

22 Marche September 15, 2008 at 2:05 pm

My husband heard on the radio that taking flaxseed oil when you have a thyroid condition makes your thyroid function worse. Does anyone know if this is true? The flaxseed oil is supposed to negate the medication you are on.

23 Flax Oil June 29, 2009 at 3:21 pm

I have been using a vitamin supplement from Top Form Nutrition that contains Borage Seed oil, Flax Seed oil and Fish oil. It seems to work very well, i can feel an increase in energy.

Also i feel like im a little happier and in a better mood more often since taking it. Anyone else had similiar results taking a flax or fish oil supplement ?

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