T Nation

Flax Oil Its not as good as you think

I feel people don’t really understand the role of EFA’s. 1)They are the building blocks of hormones (eicasanoids). To much flax will inhibit the production of eicasanoids. Thats why fish oils are better, also there conversion rate is much higher. Plus numerous studies have linked linagens found in flax to increase estrogen levels especially in males. I think people would be better served to just use fishoil, and monosaturated fats which wont screw up hormone levels or synthesis.

sounds damn interesting, especially since i use flax…do you have a web site or something where this is talked about ???

I have been putting flax oil in my protein shakes for about 5 years. I think I have accomplished a good amount as far as strength training is concerned. I want to see documented proof that flax oil raises estrogen levels. If you read the John Berardi article in the previous issues, he says that using raw flax seed did something like that but I am still not convinced. Dont get me wrong, I agree that fish oil is better, but using it can get extremely expensive. I use about 3 grams of fish oil in capsules and I eat a lot of salmon sashimi at japanese restaraunts, so I think I get a lot of fish oil, but I still use about 3 tablespoons of flax oil a day.

Kyle, I’m just curious what you consider too much. Your argument definitely makes sense…I mean, since a high amount of Omega 6’s can be detrimental, why wouldn’t that hold true for Omega 3’s as well? Obviously there should be a balance, but where would that balance be? (in absolute #grams & as a W6/W3 ratio). To be honest, I don’t think anyone really knows at this point.

Can you back this up somehow? And not with ‘random’ web pages please… comething accredited

Dont agree, sure the n-3/6 fats are the building blocks of the prostaglandins, luekotrienes and the like, but supplementation with flax will not inhibit their production. It will inhibit the production of the Arachadonic acid prostaglandins, but will increase production of the Eicosapentanoic acid prostaglandins. Fish oil has a ‘higher conversion rate’ because they are already in the eicosapentanoic form used by the enzyme systems. They do not need conversion via the desaturase and elongase enzymes.
Flax oil doesnt contain much lignin, flax seed does, it is a phytoestrogen. Many many many many plants contain phytoestrogens, potatoes, beans (SOY!). While there is the possibility it could affect estrogen levels in the body, this effect would be minor, and to get a large effect, you would be taking in vast quantities of flax, and it doesnt taste that good.

You should do some reading on the biochemistry of fatty acids (and not just reading udos book)

From the Zone page 123 (Consuming large amounts of alpha linoleic acid , an omega 3 thats found in high amounts in flax seeds, flax oil, and walnus, is like a wet blanket for the enzymes that control the eventual flow of omega 6 efa’s toward eicosanoids. In many ways ala is the biological equivalent of aspirin. by limiting the activity of the delta 6 desturase enzyme, it knocks out the production of both good and bad eicosanoids. The same is tre for hydrogenated vegetable oils that contain trans fatty acids. They slow down the production of GLA and good eicosanoids.

Alpha-linolenic acid is Omega-3 and Linoleic acid is Omega-6. Note the spelling. There seems to be some confusion here.

Thats your problem, you are reading “the zone” for biochemical information.
Alpha linolenic acid will act as a competitive inhibitor of the delta 6 desaturase enzyme. Its not a wet blanket, it just competes with n-6 fats for the ezymes.
It also cannot knock all fats out of eicosanoid production (maybe indirectly by being prefered by the D6D enzyme but) as they are handled by seperate enzymes (cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase enzymes.
Asprin lowers the activity of the cyclooxygenase enzyme, (COX inhibitor in other words) so they indirectly act like certain fats
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) arachadonic acid (AA) and dihommo gama linolenic acid (DGLA)

By doing so both asprin and FISH OIL (the source of EPA) act as anti thrombogenic agents, they just variously inhibit or increase production of certain thomboxanes and prostaglandins and the like
I am not going to bother writing the specifics here

GLA (after conversion to DGLA) is only incorporated into Series one eicosanoids, the others are AA (series 2) and epa(series3),
they all have their specific roles and we could NOT live without any of them.

Sears has always had a bug up his arse with most of the things in his book, but really with the alpha linolenic acid thing.