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Flaxseed Oil: Amazing Protective Fat-Burn Oil



Posted in: Articles by ProSource, Supplement Articles, Flax Oil
By Alan Lewis | Feb 21, 2007



Flaxseed oil is a vegetable oil uniquely rich in the omega-3 family of essential fatty acids, in particular alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). It is also rich in lignans, gamma-tocopherol (an especially beneficial form of vitamin E), and other protective factors. Omega-3 fatty acids have developed a well-deserved reputation as being essential for body protection and function in a hundred different ways. It is not going too far to describe them as a general tonic against the "diseases of civilization", and for protection from the daily onslaught of junk food and chemicals. The subject is far too big for this short article. I will just focus on a few points that are most relevant to male athletes.

Flax Seed Oil: Fat Burn Oil?
An oil that can help burn fat? Is this a joke? No. Like MCT oils (medium chain triglyceride oils), there is evidence that flax oil, as a dietary fat, behaves differently in the body, metabolically. Omega-3 fats are highly-unsaturated -- more so than other fats -- and as a result they are burned much easier than other unsaturated fats (and WAY easier than saturated fats). The liver converts them into ketones very readily, and if you're up on the whole low-carb diet issue you know that ketones are one of the ways a body can harmlessly get rid of excess calories. Also, giving the liver some ready food for ketone production acts to "jump-start" the conversion of other fats to ketones. The result, for many users, is a gratifying increase in the rate of fat-burning and body repartitioning. Will Brink, a consultant to numerous top bodybuilders, has found that flax seed oil in high doses -- up to six tablespoons per day! -- accelerates bodyfat loss in pre-contest training. That's some intel from in the trenches that could be worth its weight in golden flax oil. These "real world" results are consistent, by the way, with a mass of animal studies which show that omega-3 fats stymie the development of adipose tissue, while oxidizing rapidly (i.e. they are easy to burn for energy). Omega-3 fats also oppose the action of arachidonic acid in promoting fat development, and measurably reduce fat mass in animals. But wait, there's more. Flax oil contains compounds called lignans which can oppose the effects of excess estrogen -- sometimes even helping to reduce gynecomastia. (Users of high-dose aromatizable steroids out there: listen up!) Flaxseed oil has been found to reduce estrogen-dependent breast cancer proliferation, by an estrogen-blocking action not unlike the drug tamoxifen.

Why You Should Supplement

The truth is that the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) is woefully deficient in omega-3 fats. Flaxseed oil was abandoned in commercial baking and production many years ago in exchange for cheaper unhealthy alternatives. Good sources of omega-3s such as pecans and walnuts are not consumed in significant quantities. Oily fish is the most reliable source, but not everyone eats fish. A convenient and practical way to get these vital fatty acids is to use a tablespoon or so of flax oil, daily. Another important fact is that the Standard American Diet is brimming with omega-6 fatty acids -- another class of unsaturates from vegetable foods and oils.

Omega-6s are essential nutrients
.
The only problem is that almost no one gets too little of them! They are abundantly supplied in the typical diet. Indeed, we get too much of them. The American diet gives us a gross overload of omega-6s relative to omega-3s. And it is that ratio that is about as critical as the absolute amounts. Even if you're getting plenty of omega-3, if you're consuming even more omega-6, you will wind up short. That's because the two classes (omega-6 and omega-3) are competitive; they crowd each other out. This overload of omega-6s relative to omega-3s is now thought to be involved in inflammation, cognitive deficits, depression, and many other disorders of mind and body. It might also be this ratio that determines or predisposes to bodyfat gains (see section above). Again, the only practical way to restore balance, for most people, is to supplement with either flax oil or fish oil (or better yet, a combination of both).

Flax oil has the advantage of being a rich source of the protective lignans, as well (while fish oil has none). Whole flax seed and flax oil are superfoods that should be in everyone's kitchen.
Bibliography Brenna JT. Efficiency of conversion of alpha-linolenic acid to long chain n-3 fatty acids in man. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2002 Mar;5(2):127-32. Burdge GC, et al. Effect of altered dietary n-3 fatty acid intake upon plasma lipid fatty acid composition, conversion of [13C]alpha-linolenic acid to longer-chain fatty acids and partitioning towards beta-oxidation in older men. Br J Nutr. 2003 Aug;90(2):311-21. Cunnane SC. Problems with essential fatty acids: time for a new paradigm? Prog Lipid Res. 2003 Nov;42(6):544-68. Hagve TA, Christophersen BO. Mechanisms for the serum lipid-lowering effect of n-3 fatty acids. Scand J Clin Lab Invest. 1988 Dec;48(8):813-6 Massiera F, et al. Arachidonic acid and prostacyclin signaling promote adipose tissue development: a human health concern? J Lipid Res. 2003 Feb;44(2):271-9. Murase T, et al. Dietary alpha-linolenic acid-rich diacylglycerols reduce body weight gain accompanying the stimulation of intestinal beta-oxidation and related gene expressions in C57BL/KsJ-db/db mice. J Nutr. 2002 Oct;132(10):3018-22. Nakatani T, et al. A low fish oil inhibits SREBP-1 proteolytic cascade, while a high-fish-oil feeding decreases SREBP-1 mRNA in mice liver: relationship to anti-obesity. J Lipid Res. 2003 Feb;44(2):369-79. Ogborn MR, et al. Dietary flax oil reduces renal injury, oxidized LDL content, and tissue n-6/n-3 FA ratio in experimental polycystic kidney disease. Lipids. 2002 Nov;37(11):1059-65. Pischon T, et al. Habitual dietary intake of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids in relation to inflammatory markers among US men and women. Circulation. 2003 Jul 15;108(2):155-60. Tarpila S, et al. The effect of flaxseed supplementation in processed foods on serum fatty acids and enterolactone. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2002 Feb;56(2):157-65. Simopoulos AP. Omega-3 fatty acids in inflammation and autoimmune diseases. J Am Coll Nutr. 2002 Dec;21(6):495-505. Sinclair AJ, et al. What is the role of alpha-linolenic acid for mammals? Lipids. 2002 Dec;37(12):1113-23. Wiesenfeld PW et al. Flaxseed increased alpha-linolenic and eicosapentaenoic acid and decreased arachidonic acid in serum and tissues of rat dams and offspring. Food Chem Toxicol. 2003 Jun;41(6):841-55.



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Disclaimer: Use as directed with a sensible nutrition and exercise program. Read all product labels and warnings thoroughly before use. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.





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