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Flaxseed and flaxseed oil


DisclaimerThis article is intended for informational purposes and is not intended to replace a one-on-one medical consultation with a professional. WLM researches and shares information and advice from our own research and advisors. We encourage every woman to research, ask questions and speak to a trusted health care professional to make her own best decisions.

What is it

Flaxseed is a plant-based product and one of the oldest crops. In the United States, flaxseed was primarily used in the past to produce fiber from its stem for clothing/linen and paper. Seeds, oil, and flowers are used for medicinal purposes in the treatment of postmenopausal symptoms. Flaxseed and flaxseed oil differ slightly in their composition. Flaxseed oil is manufactured from flaxseed and is concentrated in omega-3 fatty acids when compared to flaxseeds. Flaxseeds are in their natural form and are rich in other nutrients and not only in fatty acids. Flaxseeds are more nutritious as they also contain more fiber, minerals, and vitamins which the flaxseed oil does not contain.

How does it help

Night sweats and hot flashes. Flaxseed oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, and numerous antioxidants. Flaxseed also contains molecules like isoflavones and lignans and their structure closely resembles that of your bodily estrogen.  Flaxseed when taken in an adequate amount supplements estrogen-like molecules in your body and may decrease the frequency and intensity of hot flashes and night sweats.


Flaxseeds can increase the risk of bleeding if you are taking blood thinners (aspirin, warfarin, etc.). Blood pressure might drop excessively when flaxseeds are taken along with anti-hypertensive medicines.

Side effects

Flaxseed and flaxseed oil is well tolerated when taken in limited amount. When taken excess they can cause diarrhea.

Scientific Evidence

Mixed - mixed results, limited studies conducted

What else you should know

Flaxseed and flaxseed oil are not much used in chinese medicine for reducing hot flashes/night sweatsFlaxseeds should not be eaten raw as it might contain potentially toxic compounds and they should be taken with plenty of water to prevent constipation.

Ayurveda. Commonly called as Alasi (Alsi) or teesi flaxseeds is an important seed with medicinal value. It is considered to benefit  postmenopausal symptoms when 40grams of flaxseeds are ingested.

Traditional Chinese Medicine. Flaxseeds are called Ya Ma Zi in traditional chinese medicine and are mainly known as laxative herb and are mainly used to treat constipation.


What are supplements

“Supplements” is an umbrella term encompassing vitamins, minerals, and botanicals that support our body’s functions


Lemay A. et al., Flaxseed dietary supplement versus hormone replacement therapy in hypercholesterolemic menopausal women. Obstet Gynecol. 2002;100(3):495-504.

Brooks JD. et al., Supplementation with flaxseed alters estrogen metabolism in postmenopausal women to a greater extent than does supplementation with an equal amount of soy. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2004;79(2):318-325.

Udani J. et al., Pharmacokinetics and Bioavailability of Plant Lignan 7-Hydroxymatairesinol and Effects on Serum Enterolactone and Clinical Symptoms in Postmenopausal Women: A Single-Blinded, Parallel,Dose-Comparison Study. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2013;32(6):428-435.

Egelioglu. CN, Saruhan. A, Kivcak. B. The Effects of Flaxseed on Menopausal Symptoms and Quality of Life. Holistic Nursing Practice. 2015;29(3):151-157.

Shulman L. The Effects of Flaxseed Dietary Supplement on Lipid Profile, Bone Mineral Density, and Symptoms in Menopausal Women: A Randomized, Double-blind, Wheat Germ Placebo-controlled Clinical Trial. Yearbook of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health. 2006;387.

Simbalista R. et al., Consumption of a Flaxseed-Rich Food Is Not More Effective Than a Placebo in Alleviating the Climacteric Symptoms of Postmenopausal Women. Immune Netw. 2011 Aug;11(4):191-5. Available online:  

Written & Reviewed By
Dr BalKrishna Subedi
Dr BalKrishna Subedi
Women Like Me Team
Women Like Me Team
Last Updated
October 12, 2022 8:20 AM