Flax Oil for Inflammation

January 17, 2013

Plant omega-3s shouldn't be left out of the anti-inflammation story.

Published studies back omega-3 oils for lowering inflammation in humans, and flaxseed oil, a rich source of omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), shouldn’t be left out of the story. A large-scale, multicenter study published in Nutrition Research offers the latest support behind flax oil for lowering inflammation.

Researchers from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil recruited 160 adults undergoing hemodialysis therapy (which can induce inflammation) for kidney failure. Over 120 days, each subject was assigned to flax oil (1 g twice daily) or placebo (mineral oil twice daily) while receiving three dialysis units. 89 subjects (61%) were declared as having significant inflammation at the study’s baseline, as evidenced by C-reactive protein levels.

After three months of supplementation, 33% of flax oil subjects moved from an inflamed category to a not-inflamed category, compared to 16.9% of the placebo group. Reductions in C-reactive protein also correlated with reductions in body mass index and HDL cholesterol. The Brazilian study comes just months after the publication of another inflammation-related study in which hemodialysis patients who consumed flaxseed for eight weeks saw reductions in C-reactive protein, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.

For all of your questions about flax-related research, check out the Flax Council of Canada's ongoing database of flax nutrition studies.