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Frequently Asked Questions


I have read & heard conflicting reports re: the safety of consuming milled flaxseed. Several sources include info regarding the need to consume the milled flaxseed ASAP - one individual even told me if not eaten immediately it would act as a carcinogen. Other sources mention milling & storing the seed with no notation of danger/precaution. Can you supply with accurate information?

Your question is a common one and unfortunately confusion about the many fine details of nutrition are also common. The Canadian Flax Council has evaulated this question and posted a summary of the research on this topic on their website ( you will need Acrobat Reader by Adobe to read this report - it is in PDF format). Although it is a technical report, it is relatively easy reading with the conclusion being there is minimal to no oxidation of the main fatty acid in flaxseed (Alpha linolenic acid - ALA) during quite a lengthy exposure to light, air, and normal heating temperatures associated with cooking. I am probably overly conservative by storing my flax seeds and ground flaxmeal in the freezer!

faq posted 05/02


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Flaxseeds Is it safe to use flaxseeds whole? I have not found anything that will grind whole flaxseed.
Flaxseeds Is the omega-3 fatty acid content of brown flaxseeds and golden flaxseeds really different? updated 4/02
Flaxseeds Do you have more recipes using flaxseeds? posted 1/02, updated 4/02
Breast Cancer Should women with ER+ breast cancer avoid flaxseeds and flax oil that contain the phytoestrogens called lignans?
Flaxseeds Will taking my medications mixed with flaxseed powder and applesauce cause them to not be absorbed? posted 2/02
Flaxseeds How quickly does one need to eat ground flaxseed to prevent spoilage? posted 5/02
Flaxseeds What is the best way to clean out my coffee grinder when switching from grinding my coffee to flaxseeds? posted 12/02
Flaxseeds My husband had prostate cancer. Should he be avoiding flax? posted 4/03
Flaxseeds Does consuming flaxseeds potentially interfere with the anti-estrogen effect of Tamoxifen? posted 9/03, updated 2/04, updated 3/05
Flaxseeds Are flaxseeds safe to eat after heating? posted 1/04
Flaxseeds The May 2004 issue of Prevention Magazine says that women with ER+ breast cancer should not be eating flaxseeds. Do you agree? posted 4/04


These questions and answers are intended to be of a general informative nature. Please consult with the Registered Dietitian in your cancer center or your health care provider for nutritional advice that can be individualized to your specific medical condition.

Contact Information:
Phone/Fax: 734/996-9260

P.O. Box 130221, Ann Arbor, MI  48113

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