Zedherb Flaxseed oil comes from the seeds of the flax plant (Linum usitatissimum, L.). Flaxseed oil contains both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are needed for health. Flaxseed oil contains the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which the body converts into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil. Some researchers think flaxseed oil might have some of the same benefits as fish oil. But the body is not very efficient at converting ALA into EPA and DHA. The benefits of ALA, EPA, and DHA are not necessarily the same. Omega-3 fatty acids, usually from fish oil, have been shown to reduce inflammation and help prevent certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease and arthritis. Studies are mixed about whether flaxseed oil is useful for the same conditions.
Getting a good balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the diet is important. These essential fats are both examples of polyunsaturated fatty acids, or PUFAs. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, while many omega-6 fatty acids tend to contribute to inflammation. A healthy diet should consist of roughly 2 to 4 times fewer omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids. However, the typical American diet tends to contain 14 to 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids. Many researchers believe this is a significant factor in the rising rate of inflammatory disorders in the United States.