Better Balance and Gums From Flaxseed Oil

When I took flaxseed oil capsules for reasons connected with the Shangri-La Diet, I noticed, to my surprise, that my balance improved. The next time I saw my dentist, he told me that my gums were much better. A reader of this blog named Chuck Currie has noticed the same things.

I ran across a reference to your book again which led me to your website. And, like I said, from there to Mark Sisson and all the rest.

I had already ran across information about flax oil and cholesterol and heart health. So I started taking two tablespoons a day [of flaxseed oil] – morning and night. I noticed my balance improvement while doing yoga, but thought it was due to practice. After reading several paleo blogs, I switched to fish oil – one table spoon a day in the morning. Then after reading some other studies regarding possible negative effects of over-consumption of fish oil, I stopped that also.

During this time I really became a strict paleo/primal eater and exerciser. No carbs other than leafy greens and non-starchy vegs. No more chronic cardio. Stopped swimming due to shoulder issues. Started using kettlebells and body weight tabata exercise. Went back and forth on supplementation. My weight dropped to below 120. [He’s 5 feet 8 inches tall.]

I was getting totally confused on what was legit and what was BS. Sure I lost weight, but I must have looked sick because people were asking if I was all right. I think they thought I had cancer or AIDS. I felt great though. No more 2 o’clock naps and I slept great. Then I read Kurt Harris’s 2.0 blog and that set me straight – and straight back to your blog.

It made me think, OK what works on the individual level, not the hypothesis level. I had also noticed that my balance had deteriorated (I thought it was because I stopped doing yoga) and my gums were bleeding again – I had forgotten that they had stopped bleeding. [After he switched from flaxseed oil to fish oil, his balance slowly got worse.] Sort of back to basics. Sun, lots of it, or D3 – 10,000 units (I am sitting in the sun as I type this on my iPhone). Omega 3 – your posts about flax oil made sense – [sudden release of short-chain omega-3 causes] slow release [of long-chain omega-3] – and is more sustainable than cold water fish and fish oil. Magnesium at night for better sleep and muscle cramps. (when I first went full paleo, I suffered from terrible leg cramps during the night until I found magnesium). And extra butter – beyond cooking with it.

I tested the flax/balance question by continuing to not practice yoga or any other balancing exercises and [measure my balance] just using my ability to wash my feet in the shower without leaning against the wall – which had been my normal habit before my first improvement and then again when it went away. After about a week – perfect balance – both washing and drying my feet. Also, no gum bleeding. So as some would say, “the shit works”.

[He added later:] I can definitely say, with a high degree of confidence, that my balance is not as good when taking fish oil as it is when taking flax oil. Fish oil does provide a small improvement over not supplementing any omega-3. But the big improvement comes with flax oil.

12 Replies to “Better Balance and Gums From Flaxseed Oil”

  1. Flax oil is linseed oil. Yes, it has been used to thin paints for centuries. Petroleum refining didn’t exist in Rembrandt’s day.

  2. Pauline, I simply mix linseed (= flax seed) into my muesli: about a generous half a (British) tablespoon into the jar in which I mix enough muesli for eight breakfasts. That’s obviously a small intake compared to spoonfuls of the oil but I assume that it does me good. Whether it does as much good as the three tablespoons of toasted coconut I don’t know. 🙂

  3. I usually get a lot of tartar buildup in my teeth. Since I began taking the flaxseed oil, I noticed that that there is minimal tartar buildup in addition to the weight loss.

  4. Thanks for tips, do you think our bodies’ can extract the oil if we buy the whole linseed, or do we need to grind it to get to the best out of it? I just wonder if like other seeds it just passes through when digested.

    Seth: I’m pretty sure you need to grind it.

  5. @Meegs — my tartar buildup didn’t seem to change much, but my staining decreased. My dental hygienist always used to comment on the staining (which she attributed to my coffee-drinking). After I started taking 3.5 tablespoons of flaxseed oil daily, the staining decreased.

  6. Has anyone tried taking Flaxseed Pills? would that work or do you need to take the oil?


    Seth: Flaxseed oil capsules work, but you need to take a lot of them (like 30/day) to get the best effect. I started taking capsules — that’s how I discovered the balance improvement — but switched to flaxseed oil (liquid) when I realized how much the best dose was.

  7. I’ve been eating ground flax seed two tablespoons every moring for perhaps three months, a tablespoonor so every now and then for a few months before that.

    Unlike others writing here, I haven’t noticed any effects on my teeth and gums, though both have been in fair shape anyway for the last few years, i..e. ever since I started using an electric toothbrush.

    On the other hand I feel generally good all around, something I attribute in part to the flax seed, in part just to the overall process of looking after my diet with some care and imagination.


    Seth: You might get better results if you take more. I’ve taken 2 tablespoons/day of flaxseed OIL, not flax SEED. Flaxseed oil has a higher density of omega-3 than ground flaxseed. It’s also possible that the omega-3 in the ground flaxseed has gone bad, if it is not freshly ground.

  8. Seth, is there a particular brand you can recommend, apologies if this has been answered before. Also I thought all plant oils were generally bad for one (even Olive oil should be eaten sparingly?) and that saturated fats were better? I have never got my head around all the oil debate, just assume that meat cooked with animal fat seems the logical way our ancestors would have chosen.

    Seth: I once compared different brands, found no difference between Spectrum, Barlean’s, and Whole Foods.

  9. Your going to think this is weird but flax seed oil prevents me from having depression. I used to feel very darkly depressed. My Dad had some flax seed oil in capsules so I tried a few. I noticed my depression lifted. Stopped taking them. Depression. So now I take a couple of tablespoons each night. I make it like the Budwig diet (supposed to cure cancer). The Budwig diet is probably nonsense but I figure it can’t hurt and it taste better than pure flax seed oil. In a blender put two tablespoons or so flax seed oil, four tablespoons cottage cheese, and I pour a half a cup of milk to help it blend and go down smoother. Taste a little tangy like buttermilk. Not bad. Works for me. When ever anyone mentions depression or flax seed oil I always them what it did for me. Awful to be depressed. I doesn’t made me happy but does lift the worst of my depression.

  10. I appreciate you writing this. I have gum issues too. For years, i took Barleans flax oils blends because BARLEAN”S is the freshest i know. They press it on the day of ordering for customers/stores. I usually buy Flax Omega Berry Swirl (with plant DHA) for a few years and it always helped me severe PMS moods, cramps, painful cystic breasts etc.. I have not taken in a few months and i have had horrible PMS & cycle since, which required high doses of ibuprofen. Good to konw on the GUMS too. I will keep an eye on them to see if it helps.

    In the past when I took Barlean’s i did not need to take any pain pills for pms. So, after googling many articles, including yours with other reader’s comments, it confirms i need to go back on what was working.

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