Pregnant women should avoid flaxseed oil

Flaxseed and flaxseed oil are very popular as a nutritional supplement to increase heart health. There are also claims that flax may help manage diabetes, help people with certain types of cancer, and help instestinal health as well.

However, natural supplements are not always safe – natural supplements can be dangerous for the wrong people. Even grapefruit juice can cause problems if it’s consumed with certain types of medications.

A study in Canada of over 3000 women has found that women who consume flaxseed oil in their second and/or third trimesters of pregnancy have 4 times the risk of going into preterm labor and delivering a premature baby.

According to the researchers, half of Canadian women use natural products, believing that they are safer than prescription or over-the-counter medications. However, they should always check with their pharmacist and/or doctor to be sure that what they are taking is safe.


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    • Healthy Oil Guy

      It would be interesting to see just how much flaxseed oil these women actually took during this study. This would help us all determine a safe level, rather than blanket statements that ingesting flaxseed oil causes miscarriages. Also, this study found half of these women used natural nutritional supplements. What other supplements were these women using? Why did the researchers not elaborate on these specifics? Could it be a combination of other nutritional supplements that may have also increased the risk for miscarriage? Would it not help all women if we knew the exact details of this study? This is similar to the study that found a higher risk for prostate cancer in men that increased their intake of alpha linolenic acid. This did not mean flaxseed oil (which contains alpha linolenic acid) causes prostate cancer, but the media jumped the gun and made the conclusion that flaxseed oil causes prostate cancer. Other studies have found this not to be true.

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    • gigi

      Does anyone know if flaxseed oil helps cure autism?

    • Savanah

      I, too, wonder what other supplements these women were taking. I have a 6 month old baby right now, and during my pregnancy, I had a fruit and yogurt smoothie with a tablespoon of flaxseed oil in it every single morning. I had an easy 4 hour labor (at 40 weeks and 3 days) and a healthy baby (Apgar score of 9), weighing in at 8 pounds, 6 ounces. I attributed all of this to my eating habits throughout pregnancy, which included that daily tablespoon of flaxseed oil. I probably wouldn’t have done this, had I known about the risks, but this is the first time I’m hearing about any dangers.
      Long story short, I don’t know how valid this study is, especially when not given very many facts.

    • Natalie Thornsberry

      I was taking flaxseed oil capsules once per day and miscarried on my 9th week. Now I wonder if that affected the outcome.

    • Rachel C.

      Flax seed has lots of Omega-3s (which are very healthy) but it also has small traces of cyanide (which is a deadly poison). People should read up on what’s in supplements before taking them; don’t just get all your information from the people who are trying to sell you the supplements. For example, the Mayo Clinic has a website on supplements that’s relatively neutral, and it mentions the cyanide issue:

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