Nutrition and Labeling - Ground flax seeds and or fish pills

11-12-2011, 04:08 PM
I take flax seed now but just started so take 1 tsp daily and will build up.
I was wondering I read good things on DHA Omega-3 pills and was wondering with the flax should I take the pills too or switch. Will taking them both thin my blood too much.

Thanks for any and all help.......

11-12-2011, 07:35 PM
When I was getting advice from the personal trainers they kept saying to take krill oil.... I up fiber just because I know it works for my weight loss. I eat fiber bars and used to pour whole flaxseeds in my oatmeal. I have yet to use the ground flaxseeds but I would bet it is better on the system than the whole. I didn't follow the building up part when I started using flaxseeds. Luckily, I didn't have to be around too many people during that time. Good luck I'm interested in seeing other responses.

11-13-2011, 08:20 AM
From what I understand, there are 3 fatty acids which are "Omega-3" -- your body needs a bit of all of them. Flax seed provides one (ALA), fish oil provides the other two (DHA and EPA). The ideal is to actually eat fatty fish rather than the pills if you can, because I think a lot of the longer-term studies that show protective benefit are actually historical studies of people that eat a lot of fish (and the pills may not provide the same benefit). But don't listen to me -- here is the Mayo Clinic web site:
Omega-3 fatty acids from the Mayo Clinic (

It also gives some information about the dosage if you page through the whole thing. I have read elsewhere if you eat 12-16 oz of fatty fish a week (salmon, sardines) that provides enough without taking pills.

On the flax seed -- unless they're crushed, they pretty much pass through intact except for the few you manage to crush with your teeth, and the Omega-3 goodness stays locked inside. I look for the crushed but then you have to keep them in the fridge or freezer because they can go rancid like walnuts. If you have a mortar and pestle you can crush them by hand. I have tried a blender and food processor and those don't work, they just spin around in there.

11-13-2011, 08:54 AM
I doubt that you need to be worried about an imbalance of getting too much Omega-3s relative to Omega-6 by taking fish oil caps and flax as supplements.

Grains and oils from grain contain a lot of Omega-6. Paleo diets exclude most grains as we evolved without the benefit of agriculture (which introduced high levels of grain). Even early agrarian societies consumed a lot more Omega-3's because they ate wild game and fish and ate grass-fed cattle (all of which tend to eat more Omega-3 than Omega-6 and pass it along).

It is possible to have an imbalance in the other direction. If you don't eat grain or grain oils and you eat only grass-fed/wild meats you should probably skip the supplements.

12-03-2011, 06:28 PM
Only a tiny amount of the ALA in flaxseed oil gets converted to DHA by the body. If you want to consider an alternative to fish oils, either because you're vegetarian or have concerns about contaminants in fish, you can take algae oil instead. It's where the fish get their Omega 3s from in the first place.

Flaxseed, whole or ground, is great for the digestive tract, though.

12-04-2011, 01:23 AM
Also, a handy trick for grinding flax seeds: use a coffee grinder! They are pretty cheap, and way easier than using a mortar and pestle. I buy bulk flax seeds and then I grind them up and keep them in a baggie in the freezer (once they are ground they can go rancid pretty quickly, so keep them in the fridge or freezer).

12-04-2011, 12:35 PM
Yes, good point about the algae, although I've never actually seen algae oil. Is it just called "Algae oil"?

I was a little hesitant to recommend the coffee grinder trick, because when I tried that it completely gummed up my coffee grinder! And I didn't want to get anyone grumpy at me. Mine is a cheapo model, I admit, so your results my vary.

12-05-2011, 06:57 PM
I use a coffee grinder for flax seeds. I keep whole ones in the fridge and then grind up as I need the ground ones. I have to admit it's been a bit since I've added it to stuff, I really should! Thanks for the reminder!! :D

Suzanne 3FC
12-06-2011, 04:37 PM
Yes, good point about the algae, although I've never actually seen algae oil. Is it just called "Algae oil"?

Look for DHA algae oil. Algae oil alone pulls up industrial products :o
Dr. Fuhrman markets his own brand under DHA Purity. Another brand to look for is DEVA and they sell their algae dha on Amazon at good prices.

I've not tried it, but I've considered it.

12-06-2011, 05:54 PM
Neither! I say go with chia seeds. They do not need to be ground up like flax to be an effective source of omega-3 and they have a very long shelf life (5-6 years). There is also some evidence that they help with weight loss because they absorb so much water, thus causing the stomach to feel more full quicker.

Fish oil has long been a standard for omega-3, but there have been studies that show high levels of chemicals (I'm remembering from reading Dr. Fuhrman's book Eat to Live) and that many of them are actually rancid even before they reach our mouths. YUCK!

Do look into chia seeds and all the benefits they provide.

12-07-2011, 01:51 PM
Flaxseed absorbs a lot of water as well, it's why you need to drink so much water when you take it. Otherwise it will pull the water out of your body and cause constipation instead of relieving it. I wonder if chia seeds absorb substantially more or less water than flaxseeds? Either way, I can't afford to try chia seeds, they're way out of my budget I'm afraid. It's a pity, they're meant to be quite good.

Algae oil - it's pretty easy to find when you snoop around online.