T Nation

Why can't I use flax forever???

Hey T-folk. I read in a recent issue of T-Mag (it seemed like an after-thought comment just thrown in) that you can’t stay on flax or hemp oil (I think it was hemp) continuously. The statement made out like there would be adverse health risks or some such thing. Can anyone shed some light on this issue for me? I always figured you could take in any macro in reasonable amounts without any break…

You cant stay on flax forever because it will actually bring your omega 3 up too high compared to your omega 6. Flax has i think 5 times as much omega 3 as it has omega 6. The typical diet has about 20 times omega 6 as it does omega 3, so usually flax is a good thing. Hemp oil is more ideally balanced for long term use because it contains more omega 6 than flax does.

Short answer: if you take flax long term, then you must also take GLA (found in borage seed, black currant seed, evening primrose oil, or hemp seed oil) also.

BACKGROUND: for heath you need to eat omega three fatty acids for the rest of your life. The preferred source is fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackeral, herring, eel…). Flax seed oil does work as a substitute by providing the body with the precursor molecules. However taking flax seed oil interferes (by competitive inhibition i.e. occupying the enzyme active sites) with the conversion of omega six fatty acid precursors to their active metabolites e.g. GLA. Udo Erasmus describes these metabolic pathways in his book Fats That Heal, Fats that Kill. The fat roundtable had some very good information on this topic (probably an easier read then Udo)

Thanks fellas. I read the ‘Fat Roundtable’ a little while back, don’t recall too much though, think I might go have a bo-peep again. Interesting stuff!