Flaxseed Overdose Case Study

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1. Can a consumer go overboard in including flaxseeds in their diet?

Yes, eating too many flaxseeds can be potentially harmful. Like any other nutrient, the benefits of flaxseeds are most beneficial when used properly in moderation and eaten in the right amount. Over consuming flaxseeds can can cause diarrhea, lower blood pressure, obstruct the intestines (due to bulk-forming laxative effects) and slow blood clotting. According to the NIH effects of a flaxseed overdose have been researched in animal studies and symptoms may include shortness of breath, rapid breathing, weakness and trouble walking. A flaxseed overdose may also cause seizures or paralysis.

2. How much is too much?

The right dosage depends on the individual and their current health condition. Generally individuals with constipation, can consume up to 50 grams of flaxseeds. Individuals with high cholesterol can consume 20-50 gram of flaxseed and individuals with high blood pressure can consume up to 550 mg of flaxseed per day. Again, when considering adding flaxseeds or flaxseed oil to your diet,
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Flaxseeds have laxative properties and can lead to abdominal discomfort and diarrhea. The National Institutes of Health recommends that people with irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis, crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis should not consume flaxseeds. I also recommend anyone with an inflammatory small intestine/large intestine condition to avoid all seeds and nuts, including flaxseeds as these seeds can get stuck in pockets of the colon and aggravate inflammatory conditions. Individuals with gastrointestinal obstruction and a bleeding disorder need to use extra caution when consuming flaxseeds. Flaxseeds can slow blood clotting, which raises a risk for individuals with a bleeding disorder and medicating with blood thinners. People with an inflamed colon and any obstruction should avoid
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