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12 Flax Seeds Side Effects That You Should Be Aware Of


Flax seeds might be considered one of the most adaptable seeds.

You could find flax seeds in dishes such as smoothies, oatmeal bowls, and acai bowls. However, people initially used them in making textiles. Flax is mainly grown for its seeds, which are high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.

Flax seeds have become very popular in the health food[1] market, with experts even referring to them as a superfood. Flax seeds have become increasingly popular as people are getting more conscious of their health and more aware of the foods they consume.

This is not surprising given flax seeds’ numerous health benefits. Weight loss is regarded as one of the essential flax seed benefits.

In this article, we will learn what flax seeds are, the relation between flax seeds and weight loss, some of the side effects of consuming flax seeds, and much more.

Side Effects Of Flax Seeds

Though flax seeds have numerous advantages, they might not suit everyone. Flax seeds, for example, could be avoided by persons with irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease.

This is because flax seeds could irritate the walls of your colon and act as laxatives, which might cause bleeding and irritation in some circumstances.

Flax seeds could also be avoided by someone with endometriosis or hormonal imbalance, as flax seeds could mimic the effects of estrogen on the body.

Flax seeds are undoubtedly beneficial. However, the negative consequences of these seeds are sometimes overlooked due to its widespread publicity.

Therefore, you might consume considerably too many of these seeds and land in a disrupted health condition. Here are some of the main side effects of flax seeds:

  1. Loose Stools

    If taken in excessive quantities, flax seeds might cause loose stools due to their high amount of fiber.

    Fibers support healthy and regular bowel motions and prevent constipation when ingested in normal amounts.

    An overabundance of flax seeds might increase the frequency and number of bowel motions.

    In some situations, it might also cause IBS and diarrhea. Flax seeds should be avoided at any cost by those who already have these health problems.

  2. Lower Sugar In Blood

    Flaxseeds or flax seed oil could reduce sugar levels in your blood. If you consume drugs that affect your sugar levels, you should avoid flax seed oil.

    If you have any illness which might affect your sugar levels like diabetes, you should consume flax seeds taking caution.

  3. Lowers Blood Pressure

    Flax seed might decrease your blood pressure[2]. Adding flax seed to your regular diet could create issues if you already have low blood pressure, or you are using medication for high blood pressure.

  4. Blockage Of The Intestines

    According to experts, eating a lot of flax seeds without drinking enough water might cause intestinal blockages and congestion.

    Those who have dealt with similar situations in the past are expected to avoid flax seeds.

    Flax seed consumption should be avoided by scleroderma patients as it could cause intestinal blockage and severe constipation.

  5. Diarrhea

    Flax seeds are thought to aid in constipation relief. Flax seeds contain a lot of fiber compared to different seeds.

    Therefore, utilizing flax seeds to cure constipation is not the same as using different seeds.

    If you take flax seeds as a supplement, you should drink plenty of water. Flax seeds might cause[3] diarrhea in some people.

  6.  Allergic Reactions

    Excessive eating of flax seeds has caused allergic responses in some persons. Vomiting, nausea, and abdominal pain are some of the side effects.

    The most serious adverse reactions[4] of consuming flax seeds are anaphylaxis, prolonged restricted breathing, and low blood pressure.

  7. Bleeding

    Consumption of flaxseeds could make you bleed. If you are using blood thinner medications that could induce or prolong bleeding[5], or have a bleeding disorder, this might create an issue.

  8. Hormone Alterations

    If you are breastfeeding or pregnant, avoid flax seeds and flax seeds oil. Due to its propensity in influencing hormones[6], flax seed oil might create difficulties among pregnant women.

  9. Might Make Conceiving Difficult For Women

    Flax seeds are brown seeds that act similar to estrogen. Women who eat them regularly often see changes in their menstrual cycles. Infertility might result from these abnormalities[6].

    Overuse of flax seed should be avoided by women with hormone-related diseases, such as ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, polycystic ovary syndrome, and uterine fibroids.

  10. Higher Quantity Consumption Could Be Unsafe For Pregnant Women

    Although flax seeds have been added to the foods consumed during pregnancy, their excess consumption could impact estrogen levels.
    Therefore, a higher quantity is not suggested for pregnant women.

  11. Prostate Cancer

    Flax seeds contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which might make prostate cancer[7] cells more aggressive.

    Flax seeds lack lignan, which is linked to slowing down of prostate cancer cell division.

    Also, if a person has prostate cancer, the fat in flax seed oil might not give your body the nutrients that it requires.

    According to researchers, you should avoid flax seed oil entirely as it has no benefit among men having prostate cancer.

  12. Interactions With Different Drugs

    Flax seeds, which are high in fiber, might clog the digestive tract and prevent certain supplements and medications from being absorbed.

    Therefore, if you are taking oral prescription medications, there is a possibility of that you should not eat flax seeds.

    Flax seeds could also alter the effects of blood sugar medications and blood thinners. Consult your doctor before incorporating flax seeds into your diet.

What Is Flax Seed?

Flax seed is obtained from the flax plant. It is widely produced throughout the Mediterranean, Asia, and Europe.

Flax seeds are typically reddish-brown to golden-yellow.

They contain phytoestrogens, which are estrogen-like compounds. Soluble fibre and oil[8] are also found in flax seeds.

Flax Seeds And Weight Loss

Flax seeds, as previously said, could be a crucial part of your diet if you wish to lose weight or maintain it. This is primarily due to its high fiber content.

Fiber might make you feel fuller for a longer time, so you will consume fewer calories regularly.

In simple words, flax seed aids appetite suppression by providing an easy and quick feeling of fullness. This is due to flax seeds being high in soluble fiber.

This delays digestion in the stomach and therefore triggers appetite-controlling hormones, which gives you the impression that you are full.

To satisfy your appetite, you do not need to eat much food. Flax seeds could be excellent for managing your desire if you nibble them between meals and wish to reduce your food intake.

If you are wondering how to eat flax seeds for weight reduction, adding around 2.6 grams of ground flax seeds to beverages was found to lessen overall appetite and sensations of hunger.

Or you could also add them to your snacks.

Furthermore, researchers determined in 2016, after examining 40 separate studies, that including whole flax seed in your diet could contribute[9] to a reduction in body mass index, waist circumference, and body weight.


Flax seeds are unique seeds that offer several health benefits. They also help you in losing weight.

They give the body a lot of nutrients, which might help improve the immune system and prevent disease development..

The most likable factor is that one could eat flax seeds in various ways. However, it is crucial to know that these are not miracle workers.

To reduce your weight effectively, you should exercise regularly and have a nutritious diet.

Flax seed is high in omega-3 fatty acids and has been linked to various health advantages, such as better regularity and lower blood pressure.

Despite the side effects, flax seeds have multiple benefits, some of which could be understood by reading this study[1] on the topic.

They might also be used as a substitute for different seeds and added to dishes.

It’s simple to incorporate one or two servings of flax seed into your daily routine, and it could have a lot of health benefits.

9 References/Sources

Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.

  1. Ankit Goyal, Vivek Sharma, Neelam Upadhyay, et al. Flax and flaxseed oil: an ancient medicine & modern functional food Flax and flaxseed oil: an ancient medicine & modern functional food
  2. Stephanie P.B. Caligiuri, Harold M. Aukema, Amir Ravandi, et. al. Flaxseed Consumption Reduces Blood Pressure in Patients With Hypertension by Altering Circulating Oxylipins via an α-Linolenic Acid–Induced Inhibition of Soluble Epoxide Hydrolase. Originally published28 Apr 2014 https://doi.org/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.114.03179.
  3. Amber Hanif Palla, Anwarul-Hassan Gilani Dual effectiveness of Flaxseed in constipation and diarrhea: Possible mechanism J Ethnopharmacol. 2015 Jul 1;169:60-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2015.03.064. Epub 2015 Apr 15. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25889554/
  4. Andrew O’Keefe, Sandeep Kapur, Gregory Rex, et al. Flax seed allergy in children: an emerging allergen? Allergy Asthma Clin Immunol. 2010; 6(Suppl 2): P6. Published online 2010 Nov 4. doi: 10.1186/1710-1492-6-S2-P6
  5. Kailash Prasad Flaxseed and cardiovascular health J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2009 Nov;54(5):369-77. doi: 10.1097/FJC.0b013e3181af04e5. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19568181/
  6. J C Tou, J Chen, L U Thompson Flaxseed and its lignan precursor, secoisolariciresinol diglycoside, affect pregnancy outcome and reproductive development in rats J Nutr. 1998 Nov;128(11):1861-8. doi: 10.1093/jn/128.11.1861. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9808635/
  7. Maria Azrad, Kui Zhang, Robin T. Vollmer, et. al. Prostatic Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA) Is Positively Associated with Aggressive Prostate Cancer: A Relationship Which May Depend on Genetic Variation in ALA Metabolism. PLoS One. 2012; 7(12): e53104. Published online 2012 Dec 28. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.005310
  8. K K Singh, D Mridula, Jagbir Rehal, P Barnwal Flaxseed: a potential source of food, feed and fiber Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2011 Mar;51(3):210-22. doi: 10.1080/10408390903537241. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21390942/
  9. M Mohammadi-Sartang, Z Mazloom, H Raeisi-Dehkordi, et al. The effect of flaxseed supplementation on body weight and body composition: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 45 randomized placebo-controlled trials Obes Rev. 2017 Sep;18(9):1096-1107. doi: 10.1111/obr.12550. Epub 2017 Jun 21. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28635182/

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