flax seed

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Encyclopedia.

flax seed

(flaks-seed) ,

Linum usitatissimum

(trade name),


(trade name),


(trade name)


Therapeutic: laxatives
Constipation.Hypercholesterolemia.Menopausal symptoms.Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) nephritis.


Flaxseed contains alpha-linolenic acid which lowers serum cholesterol and reduces platelet aggregation. Ten grams of flaxseed contains 4 grams of dietary fiber which also helps lower cholesterol and increases fecal elimination of bile acids. Flaxseed is an indirect food source of lignans which alter estrogen metabolism to produce less active estrogen metabolites. Flaxseed improves renal function by decreasing blood viscosity, reducing serum cholesterol and reducing inflammatory response.

Therapeutic effects

Reduced serum cholesterol.
Improved renal function.
Increased bowel movements.


Absorption: Unknown
Distribution: Unknown
Metabolism and Excretion: Unknown
Half-life: Unknown

Time/action profile



Contraindicated in: Hypersensitivity;Gastrointestinal obstruction.
Use Cautiously in: Pregnancy and lactation;Bleeding disorders;Diabetes;Hormone sensitive cancers/conditions.

Adverse Reactions/Side Effects


  • hypoglycemia


  • diarrhea
  • bloating
  • flatulence
  • nausea


  • increased bleeding time


  • allergic reactions


Increased risk of bleeding with anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents May have additive blood sugar lowering effects with hypoglycemic agents Increased risk of bleeding with herbs that have anticoagulant/antiplatelet properties including clovegarlicgingergingkoginseng and others.Note: Flaxseed oil contains the alpha-linolenic acid component of flaxseed, not the fiber or lignan components. It may share the purported lipid-lowering properties of flaxseed but not the proposed laxative or anti-estrogenic properties.
Oral (Adults) Hypercholesterolemia—40–50 grams/day. SLE nephritis—15 grams twice daily. Mild menopausal symptoms—40 grams/day.


Oil: Whole or ground seeds:

Nursing implications

Nursing assessment

  • Assess for abdominal distention, presence of bowel sounds, and usual pattern of bowel function.
  • Assess color, consistency, and amount of stool produced.
  • Lab Test Considerations: Monitor serum glucose, triglycerides, alkaline phosphatase, lipid panel, RBC count, coagulation panel, inflammatory markers, hormone panel, and prostate specific antigen (PSA) before and periodically during therapy.

Potential Nursing Diagnoses

Constipation (Indications)


  • Oral: Administer with food or mix in food.

Patient/Family Teaching

  • Instruct patient to follow directions provided with product.
  • Encourage patients to use other forms of bowel regulation, such as increasing bulk in the diet, increasing fluid intake (6–8 full glasses/day), and increasing mobility. Normal bowel habits are variable and may vary from 3 times/day to 3 times/wk.
  • Advise patient that this medication should be used in conjunction with diet restrictions (fat, cholesterol, carbohydrates, alcohol), exercise, and cessation of smoking.
  • Advise patient not to use laxatives when abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or fever is present.
  • Instruct female patients to notify health care professional promptly if pregnancy is planned or suspected.

Evaluation/Desired Outcomes

  • A soft, formed bowel movement.
  • Decrease in serum cholesterol levels.
References in periodicals archive ?
Milled flax seeds should be vacuum sealed to prevent exposure to oxygen, which will cause the oil in the seed to turn rancid).
1 teaspoon baking powder Flax seed egg replacer for 3 eggs (Sea page 22.
General recommendations are: 1) 50 mg of B-6 daily in addition to a full B-complex; 2) 200-400 mg of magnesium daily; (3) 400 IU of vitamin E as d-alpha tocopherol, not dl-alpha tocopherol; and 4) 1-2 tablespoons flax seed, preferably fresh ground, or as an oil.
This was true whether the alpha-linolenic acid came from meat and dairy products or from salad dressing and margarine (flax seed or flax seed oil intake was not reported).
The series provides human-grade ingredients (no by-products or rendered fats) and healthful extras like spirulina, flax seed and cranberries.
Designed to provide nutritive support for healthy joint function, EFA Joint Ease contains a 2100 mg EFA oil blend consisting of borage and flax seed oils, 290 mg of boswellia, 172 mg of boswellic acid and 1500 mg of glucosamine sulfate in a three soft gel per day formula.
So as long as you're stocking up on organic soy milk and flax seed power bars, why not give your teeth the same kind of natural care?
These toys are filled with a mixture of flax seed and organically grown herbs known for their relaxing qualities.
Good vegetarian sources of omega-3's include flax seed and flax seed oil, canola oil, soybean oil, soybeans, walnuts, walnut oil, and purslane.
The first, Ultra Lignan Flax Seed Oil, is offered in a soft gel format and contains 50 mg of golden flax seed lignan extract and 775 mg of organic flax seed oil per soft gel.