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Flax Seed Breakthrough

Normally, if someone tells me that they are taking flaxseed oil, I ask them if they have any relatives or neighbors that they don't like and if they say yes, I ask them to give them the flaxseed oil. Many people are confused and believe that they can obtain omega-3 fats by taking flaxseed oil. While, currently that just is not true folks. Flax is loaded with ALA, which is very slowly converted to the useful fatty acids, EPA and DHA, that provide nearly all of the benefits you read about for omega-3 fats.

Earlier this year I was not surprised at all to learn that flaxseed oil actually increases prostate cancer which is in direct contrast to fish oil that decreases it. Fish oil is well documented to decrease inflammation relative to flaxseed oil.

While this is all about to change. Genetic engineering will shortly allow flax to produce the highly beneficial EPA and DHA. This was absolutely necessary if we are ever able to feed the world because there simply is not enough fish oil on the planet right to optimally support all the humans that live here. It seems the only solution is to alter plants so they can produce it.

Meanwhile, it is important to understand that I don't believe flax should be avoided. I think it is a great alternative to psyllium and is great for constipation if one uses organic flaxseeds and grinds 2-6 tablespoons fresh in a coffee grinder it frequently helps resolve it. We do need some ALA and flax is a wonderful source. The problem results when people, usually vegetarians, seek to use flax as the sole supply of omega-3 fats. That simply won't work.

As a sidenote, if you're wondering if I've changed my opinion about genetic engineering -- I am generally opposed to it -- this seems to be one of those rare exceptions I'm not.

Most genetic engineering is being done for selfish purposes, like producing vaccines or pesticides inexpensively, and not human health. When you are producing dangerous products like these, one has to be especially careful as the potential for an environmental disaster is quite high.

However, when one is turning on enzymes already present to produce one of the very building blocks of life, EPA and DHA, we are in a completely different and far safer realm.

Science Daily September 20, 2004

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