Flaxseed Side Effects

Serious Flaxseed Side Effects

There are a number of side effects with flaxseed that you should report to your healthcare provider and which may indicate that you should stop taking flaxseed. These include, but are not limited to:
  • Severe constipation or an intestinal blockage (which is possible if you take flaxseed without enough water)
  • Any signs of bleeding (which may theoretically occur with high doses of flaxseed), such as:


    • Easy bruising or bleeding
    • Black, tarry stools; bright red blood in the stool; or vomiting of blood (signs of gastrointestinal bleeding)
    • Signs of a hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding in the brain), such as vision or speech changes; weakness or numbness in an arm or leg; or a severe headache


  • Signs of an allergic reaction, including an unexplained rash, hives, itching, unexplained swelling, wheezing, or difficulty breathing or swallowing.
Flaxseed contains alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and research suggests that diets high in ALA from meat and dairy may increase the risk of prostate cancer. However, this does not seem to apply to plant-based ALA, such as that found in flaxseed.

Final Thoughts on Flaxseed Side Effects

If you think you are experiencing a flaxseed side effect, please let your healthcare provider know. Also, let your healthcare provider know if you develop something that "just does not seem right." While it may not be a side effect, your healthcare provider will be able to diagnose and treat the problem.
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