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Flax Seed Side Effects

flax seed side effects

Flaxseed Side Effects

This is a list of flax seed side effects which may occur when it is consumed in large amounts or by people with an allergy. If you are beginning a flax seed regimen be sure to start with a small amount and watch for any allergic reactions or drug interactions. If gastrointestinal problems occur consider flaxseed oil as an alternative.

  • Gastrointestinal Effects

  • Like most high fiber foods, flax seed can have a laxative effect. However, if you do not drink enough water while eating flax, it can congeal into a solid mass that can cause constipation and sometimes esophogial and intestinal blockages. Some people may experience an increase in gas and stomach cramps.

  • Hormonal Side Effects

  • Taking excessive amounts of flax seed (more than 2 tablespoons raw seed, 3 tablespoons ground seed) may have hormonal effects that are harmful during pregnancy or breastfeeding. People with hormone-dependent conditions like breast or prostate cancer should also avoid using flax seed oil. It is not recommended for children under 12.

  • Allergies

  • Some people have reported mild to severe allergic reactions to flax seed which include but are not limited to difficulty breathing or swallowing, wheezing, swelling, itching, hives, or a rash.

  • Drug Interaction

  • Flax has the effect of a mild anti-coagulant which means it increases the time it takes for your blood to clot. You should avoid flaxseed if you are taking blood thinners or anti-coagulant medications because its effects when combined with these medications may lead to uncontrolled bleeding. In general, flax may interact with other drugs so avoid medication for at least 2 hours after eating flax seed.

  • Cyanide

  • Flax seed contains trace amounts of Cyanide. Plant derived Cyanide is common in vegetables like broccoli and brussel sprouts. Your body is able to process it during digestion in small amounts without any harmful effects. To avoid toxicity, raw flax seed should not be taken in large amounts (more than 2 tablespoons raw seed, 3 tablespoons ground seed). Heat helps to break down the Cyanide, so in baked goods this is not an issue.

    *For more detailed information on flax seed side effects, visit

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