- It facilitates regeneration, since it has anti-inflammatory properties
- It accelerates the metabolism and thereby it assists fat burning
Even though a lot of Americans follow a “low fat” diet in order to prevent obesity and maintain health, why are there so many overweight people? Not too much fat (literally) kills us - but we are talking about good fats here. Essential fatty acids (EFA), which can be found in linseed, are required for the maintenance of a normal state of health, including fat metabolism, energy production, cell function regulation and the healing of wounds and injuries. Linseed oil is a “good fat”, that helps to maintain health and fitness, while “bad fats” endanger your health and performance.
Linseed, linen, linseed oil, flax, flaxseed, flaxseed oil.
Linseed oil can be found in linseed. An omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-lipoic acid, is present in low amounts in it; it can also be found in rapeseed, blackcurrants, walnuts and soybeans.
Its effect on improving performance
Why athletes use linseed oil
According to those with an active lifestyle, linseed oil supplements help them to regenerate faster after training and helps to relieve post training pain. According to researchers, these are associated with the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of linseed. Researchers even suggest that it steps up the metabolic rate and therefore enhances fat burning. A lot of athletes report that they incorporate linseed oil in their diet to speed up the recovery of sprains and contusions. According to some results, small injuries heal four times faster than before.
How it enhances muscle mass gain and regeneration:
- It relieves inflammation and muscle pain, and increases flexibility
- It enhances regeneration and the healing process by maintaining the structural integrity of the cells.
How it enhances fat loss:
- It contributes to healthy weight loss by accelerating the body’s metabolism and therefore accelerates fat-burning.
Symptoms of linseed oil deficiency
Although there are no direct symptoms of linseed deficiency, there are several complications related to omega-3 fatty acid deficiency. Since linseed provide us with omega-3 fatty acids, it helps to decrease the risk of these adverse effects..
Based on studies, linseed oil may be useful in the treatment of the following symptoms:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Skin problems, such as eczema and psoriasis
Fifty-four percent of the US population are overweight and 22% are considered to be obese... Is it really surprising when you can find fast (to get fat) food restaurants all over the country? Why do we, who follow a low fat diet to prevent obesity and try to be as healthy as possible, still get overweight - that is, accumulate so much fat? Well, an insufficient amount of fat literally endangers our life - but only a lack of “good” fat.
Actually a lot of Americans suffer from severe fat deficiency, which contributes to the incidence of obesity, diabetes, arthritis, breast cancer, depression, immune system disorders, PMS, hyperactivity and a lot of other, nowadays common, complications that end in diseases. Believe it, or not, you have to eat (good) fats to get rid of (bad) fats. This is where many low fat diets recommended nowadays are mistaken. Although they help you to get rid of the unnecessary fats, they achieve it in an unhealthy way. On the other hand “good fats” or essential fatty acids improve your metabolism and, at the same time, general health as well.
Essential fatty acids are called essential since they are required for the normal functions of our cells; we can’t synthesise them so we have to consume them in foods or as supplements. Essential fatty acids are essential for our general health, including proper metabolism, energy production, the regulation of cell functions, and healing wounds and injuries. Essential fatty acids maintain fitness and health, while the unhealthy “bad” fats, such as processed fat in fried foods and margarine, damage your health and performance.
Linseed is one of the best, easily accessible sources of these fatty acids. It contains an important substance, omega-3 fatty acid; a lot of leading nutritionists call it the “healing fat”. It contains linolenic acid as well as other unsaturated oils. However linseed is different from most of the vegetable oils in respect of its alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) content, which is very rich in these omega-3 fatty acids. Actually, it is currently the most popular source of alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3 fatty acids) and it contains minerals and vitamins, too.
It helps in leading an active lifestyle
According to those with an active lifestyle. linseed oil supplements help their faster regeneration after training and help to relieve post-training muscle pain. Researchers suggest that this is down to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect of linseed oil. Studies have demonstrated that it decreases muscle degradation, helps in oxygen transport from the lungs to the bloodstream and assists hormone secretion through prostaglandin regulation - these hormone-like substances are involved in the function of the major organs in the body, including the reproductive, immune and nervous systems.
Researchers suggest that linseed oil increases metabolic rate and, by that, it supports faster fat burning. Animal studies support this concept but further testing is required in order to see whether it is an effective weight loss supplement for people.
Many athletes found that recovery from sprains and contusions is faster when they take linseed oil. Certain studies have demonstrated that minor injuries heal four times quicker than before. According to the studies, this property is attributed to the anti-inflammatory effect of the linseed oil. Controlled studies are still underway to verify or refute this theory. The situation is promising, for now.
According to recent studies, linseed oil provides effective protection for the cardiovascular system by supporting arterial circulation, artery function and energy production. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that a small amount (one teaspoon) of linseed oil produces a significant reduction in blood pressure.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer started to become interested in linseed when European studies demonstrated that it is able to reduce the size of certain tumours and is effective in breast, prostate and lung cancer. There are comprehensive studies underway on these effects.
Linseed contains certain anti-inflammatory substances that may reduce the painful symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and other inflammatory diseases. Furthermore, it supports membrane production in all the cells of the body, and thereby protects them from detrimental effects and contributes to their structural integrity.
A remark for those on high protein diet
What can happen when there is too much protein in your diet? You may be facing an uncomfortable sensation: constipation. Linseed oil (contrary to the constipation caused by proteins) loosens hard stool caused by proteins and thus helps us to live a “normal” life. And all that is without “fatty” foods, avoiding the intake of bad fats.
Another remarkable study has demonstrated that free testosterone levels significantly decreased when subjects were on a low fat or low calorie diet. Even a very small reduction of dietary fats may reduce the free testosterone level by 13%. Besides, by incorporating “good” fat in their diet, the testosterone level of the subjects increased. As such, linseed oil supplementation during a weight loss diet can beneficial for those who want to gain or protect muscle bulk.
A potential disadvantage of linseed oil is that it becomes unstable when exposed to light, air, heat or metals. Some people therefore take it in capsule form or add whole linseeds to their diet. To be honest, all you need is a working refrigerator to keep linseed oil fresh and cold.
Even though research studies are underway, a lot of sport nutritionists strongly recommend this “healthy” fat. Studies have demonstrated that linseed enhances healthy hormone secretion, reduces muscle pain and fights against free radicals and inflammation; finally, it provides extra help in regeneration, therefore allowing more intensive training - or simply for you to live a healthier life.
INDICATIONS FOR USE
The effective dose is 1-3 teaspoons (15-45 ml) a day or 1-3 1000mg capsules.
Linseed oil should be taken with a meal (mixed with food or a protein or weight-gain shake).
Linseed can be mixed with salads or vegetables; it improves their flavour. Seeds can be ground (with a coffee grinder) and mixed with water, juice, yoghurt, cereals or other foodstuffs.
Do not apply heat to linseed (do not cook with it), since it degrades and loses its potential benefits.
Linseed oil synergies
Synergy: Not known.
Consult with your physician about possible interactions if you use (or plan to use) a prescription drug.
Linseed oil toxicity
Toxicity: Not known.
Prohibitions and restrictions
Cunnane, S.C., et al., "High Alpha-Linolenic Acid Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum): Some Nutritional Properties in Humans," Br J Nutr 69.2 (1993) : 443-53.
Cunnane, S.C., "Nutritional Attributes of Traditional Flaxseed in Healthy Young Adults (see comments)," Am J Clin Nutr 61.1 (1995) : 62-8.
Jenkins, D.J., et al., "Health Aspects of Partially Defatted Flaxseed, Including Effects on Serum Lipids, Oxidative Measures, and Ex Vivo Androgen and Progestin Activity: A Controlled Crossover Trial," Am J Clin Nutr 69.3 (1999) : 395-402.
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