T Nation

How Overrated is Flax?


#1

From what I understand the omega-3's in flax are not very bioavailable to humans. ALA is an omega-3 unsaturated fatty acid that is frequently found in plant material. The problem with ALA is that humans do not have a lot of the proper enzymes to convert these to functional omega-3s, we do have SOME of the enzymes (enlongases and desaturases) but they aren't expressed very high, meaning that about 5% or less of the omega-3 is converted to DHA.

So taking this into account, is it worth using flaxseed?


#2

I used to take flax a lot, but after reading Berardi's early writing on fish oils, I basically came away with the Fish oils > Flax message, and pretty much stuck to higher dosings of fish oils caps instead of using any flax at all.

S


#3

Thats true, but there are several reasons to keep flax in:

1) ALA has benefits in and of themselves that are separate from EPA/DHA

2) Fibre. Obviously Fish oil doesn't have fibre, but flax s full of it, so it can add to your daily fiber intake.

3) Lignans. The type of phytoestrogen in flax that can actually decrease aromatization of testosterone to estrogen.


#4

I take flax as well, but for me, in addition to the things you mentioned, I just like the texture that milled flax adds to a smoothie. I pretend it's little bits of cookie. I also really like adding milled chia as it's a pretty good thickener for shakes.