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Flax Oil for Joint Pain?

Question Details

 Im a fairly healthy person in my mid-thirties. I was considering taking flax oil for some joint pain? Do you think this would help?



Flax oil is a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids.  These important compounds can help to reduce inflammation in the body which often results in a decrease of joint pain.  Flax oil has additional benefits related to the hormonal systems of both men and women. 

When flax oil is taken, your body has to put it through an elaborate conversion process to extract the anti-inflammatory properties referred to as EPA and DHA.  Certain people can have inborn errors in metabolism that make this process difficult.  Even without inborn errors, the process of converting the Omega 3 in flax to EPA and DHA is very inefficient.  For this reason, if you are primarily interested in relief of joint pain I might suggest fish oil as a better recommendation for you.

Fish oil also contains high amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids.  However, unlike flax oil, your body does not need to convert fish oil to EPA and DHA.  Fish oil all ready contains very high levels of EPA and DHA.  The fish has already done the conversion for you, so their oil is pre-loaded with high amounts of the anti-inflammatory compounds.  In other words, I find that people who are looking for pain relief do much better on fish oil vs. flax oil due to the pre-existing high concentrations of the potent anti-inflammatory substances EPA and DHA contained in fish oil.  EPA is thought to be one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory substances in our body.  This makes it extremely effective for pain related conditions. 

 Flax oil remains a wonderful healing oil particularly beneficial for skin problems and hormone related issues. 

Back to all Questions     View More by Dr. Kevin Passero

Lead Medical Director

As a certified and fully trained Naturopathic Doctor, Passero has trained and preceptored with some of the nation's leading doctors in the field of natural medicine, working under the guidance of MD’s, Chiropractors, Naturopaths and Acupuncturists. Furthermore, he is currently the Vice President of the Maryland Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

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