How do I Choose the Best Flax Supplement?

Christine Hudson

Choosing the best flax supplement is more dependent on your personal preferences than anything else. While there is some debate about the benefits of cold processing, it is up to each consumer to decide which supplement works best for his or her needs. Certain decisions can be made to make the search easier, such as the form of supplement desired, whether to take a combination supplement, and if enriched food supplements are an option.

Flax seeds.
Flax seeds.

Most types of flax supplement are available in oil, powder, and capsule form. Oil is generally cold pressed, can easily be added to shakes or smoothies, and has a mild nutty flavor. Powder flax can be added to meals or drinks and is generally easy to digest. Flavored flax powders are even available to put into a bottle of water on the go. Flax capsules are available in both powder and oil, and are usually taken twice a day with meals.

The flowers of a flax plant.
The flowers of a flax plant.

It has been shown that heat generated from pressing or grinding flax seed causes oxidation of the omega-3 and other vitamins in the seed. This means a small percent of the nutrients are burned off and lost during processing. Cold processing eliminates this loss, and is generally believed to be a better method. The difference, however, is said to be minimal and may not affect your search for the best flax supplement. For those who wish to stick with cold processed supplements, they are usually marked as such on the label.

Flax oil supplements and capsules may also have ingredients such as borage or hemp for additional benefits. This may be the best flax supplement type for many, but some of these "two for one" style supplements may be redundant. Added fiber or omega-3 is typically unnecessary, unless these were taken out of the original flax during processing and had to added back in. If you do want a flax supplement combination, it is normally best to choose those with added hemp, borage, or even coconut oil.

Many people also choose not to use supplements, and instead use flax seed with meals or snacks. Golden and brown flax seed can both be ground up in most blenders using several quick pulses for a cold-process. The powder can then be sprinkled in yogurt, on veggies, or in any drink. Another alternative available in many areas is flax-enriched foods. Snack bars, crackers, and bread can replace less healthy snacks and give you the same benefits as the best flax supplements if eaten regularly.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in flax seed oil.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in flax seed oil.

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