T Nation

flax oil

Does anyone know how long flax oil can stay unrefrigerated? I’m away from home all day and was wondering if i could take some flax oil in a container with me without it going bad. Can it be put back in the refrigerator after being out for a long period? Thanx.

Once opened, it should be refrigerated to keep it from oxidizing as using oxidized oil is more harmful than helpful. If you cann’t refrigerate it, use the capsules instead.

Oxidized oil? How can you tell if it’s oxidized? What about the flax oil sold off the shelf at some stores? (I get Barleans out of the cooler at the health food store, but I have left it out by accident before.)

It seems that all vegetable oils should be refrigerated after being opened. They apparently go rancid quite quickly, but have no odor.

Michelle - thats the whole problem, you cann’t always tell when it starts to oxidize until it has oxidized to the point of being obviously rancid. But that is what rancid is - oxidized. And the unopened bottle on the store shelf isn’t a problem because it is unopened and therefore hasn’t been exposed to oxygen and cann’t oxidize. Most quality brands of flax oil fill the small air space in the bottle with nitrogen or other inert gas to prevent oxidation and resulting spoilage thereby increasing the shelf life but you should be aware that the bottle should have an expiration date also. You can increase the expiration date of unopened bottles of flax by freezing the sealed bottle which I’ve done when buying more than 1 bottle at a time. The reason to refrigerate the oil after opening is because heat increases the rate of oxidation and therefore the oil will oxidize and spoil much quicker at room temperature than in the fridge and that is why you shouldn’t cook with flax oil because the heat of cooking will oxidize the oil very rapidly. Omega 3 polyunsaturated oils are known to be very unstable to heat and should never be used for cooking for this reason. And that is why it says on the bottle to refrigerate after opening. If you are going to use improperly stored or old oil, you will not only lose a lot of the omega 3 benefit, but also needlessly expose yourself to oxides so be sure to take extra antioxidants in your supp regiment to counteract the extra oxidative load on your body.

stop being such little sissy girls… you wussies… in my day we used to drink flax oil out of the something or other and it was very hot and very oxidized.

I like to use a little olive oil now and then - does the same thing apply for it - keeping it refridgerated? I just keep mine in the cupboard as I didn`t see a “refridgerate after opening” on the label. _cunning linguist

Sorry about that–I meant to mention that olive oil is the exception. For some reason the same doesn’t happen to olive oil and it can sit on your shelf at room temperature.

Yes, the olive oil which is monounsaturated is fine to keep in the cupboard. The polyunsaturated vegatable oils are the most unstable and prone to heat induced oxidation with the omega 3 polyunsaturates the worst of all (flax, etc). Monounsaturated olive oil is highly stable when exposed to heat and as such, makes an excellent cooking oil and has a very high oxidation temperature (much, much higher than flax oil - I used to know the temps that complete oxidation occur but cann’t recall off top of my head). Also, sun light increases oxidation and that is why quality flax oils come in black or dark bottles and should be stored in dark, cool fridge. Sunlight will also have an oxidative effect on olive oil (but at a lesser rate than flax) and as such is best also purchased in a dark or colored bottle and stored in a dark cupboard (not on the counter exposed to light). Olive oil will, in fact, partially solidify if refrigerated and therefore should just be kept in cupboard out of direct light. However, even though olive oil is much more stable, it too, in time, will go rancid and as such should be used in a reasonable time. If a bottle gets excessively old, it would be better to discard it and buy a fresh bottle. I too, like to use olive oil in addition to flax when on a higher fat, lower carb diet and want to add that the highest quality olive oil is the EXTRA VIRGIN olive oil which is the first pressing of the olives.

Thanks for the info on olive oil :slight_smile: One more question. My current bottle of flax oil is past the expiration date by about 2 weeks. It has been kept in the fridge the entire time since it was opened - do you think that it is still okay? Or should I just go and buy another bottle? Thanks again.

Personally, if its been opened for much more than 3-4 weeks, I would toss it. If it has been opened for less than that time, I would use it up. Once I open a bottle of flax and expose it to air (the source of oxidation - oxygen from air contamination), I like to use it up within a month or less even though I refrigerate it. I guess I wouldn’t worry about being a few weeks past the expire date as long as it hasn’t been open for a long time.

Thanks for the advice. The bottle has been open for about 1.5 months so I guess I will toss is and go buy another. It`s cheap stuff at $7 a bottle in Canadian money so that is likely the best option. Thanks again.