Pros and Cons to Flaxseed Oil Capsules and Soft Gels
Are flaxseed oil capsules better than using bottled oils?
Flaxseed oil is made from linseed and flaxseeds. The seeds an excellent source of protein, fiber and lignans.
Lignans are a powerful antioxidant and plant estrogen found in the hull of the seed. The oils from the seeds contain the omega 3 fatty acid, alpha linolenic acid (ALA), an ingredient which has been shown to help reduce inflammation.
You find the oils are usually packaged in bottles or soft gel capsules.
While the bottled oils are the most popular, flaxseed oil capsules or soft gels are a convenient way to package the oils in a ready-to-use dosage.
The majority of soft gels will contain 100% pure oil, but there are many products that give you additional blends of oils or other active ingredients.
Here’s an example of the actual fatty acid content in a bottle of flaxseed oil capsules from a popular brand.
The oil is primarily made up the omega 3 fatty acid, alpha linolenic acid:
- Omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid) – 445 mg
- Omega-6 fatty acids (linoleic acid) – 130 mg
- Omega-9 fatty acids (oleic acid) – 145 mg
- Flaxseed particulate (lignan-rich) – 190 mg
Flaxseed oils supply about 40% alpha linolenic acid. However, when buying flaxseed oil capsules you may find the actual percentage of alpha linolenic acid could vary if the manufacturer adds extra ingredients to their capsules.
If the dosage amount of alpha linolenic acid is important to you, then you’ll need to carefully study the ingredient labels to determine the actual ingredients you’ll be getting in each soft gel or pill.
You can also buy flaxseed oil capsules and soft gels mixed with other ‘carrier oils’ such as pumpkin seed oil and evening primrose oil (high in omega 6 fatty acids).
It’s recommended you keep the bottles of capsules tightly sealed and stored in a dry place away from excessive heat.
Pros and Cons of Flaxseed Oil Capsules:
- Some people don’t like the taste of the flaxseed oil; Flaxseed oil capsules can be easily swallowed without tasting the oil.
- The oil is protected from light exposure and UV radiation.
- Soft gels and capsules help keep the flaxseed oil stable.
- Encapsulation may help minimize free radical formation in the oil.
- May protect the oil from going rancid.
- Soft gels and capsules are tamper-proof. The contents may leak or become discolored if it’s been punctured or tampered with.
- Flaxseed oil capsules are easier to take with you to work, the gym or day trip. Simply pop a few in your briefcase or backpack and they’re ready to take later in the day.
- You may get a smaller dose of flaxseed oil and omega 3 fatty acids per soft gel. One tablespoon of the best flaxseed oil will give you around 7 grams of alpha linolenic acid. You may have to take a dozen 1000 mg. capsules to get the same amount of ALA found in a bottled liquid.
- Higher Cost – The cost per dose may be higher than liquid flaxseed oils when you compare on a gram for gram basis.
- Most soft gels and capsules are made from gelatin. Gelatin is usually made from the connective tissue, skin and bones of animals. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can find flaxseed oil capsules made with “vegetarian” soft gels made from non-animal sources.
If you’re interested, here’s a link to how soft gel capsules are made.
How to Choose the Best Flaxseed Oil Capsule or Soft Gel
So if you’re on the market for some flaxseed oil capsules, you’ll find plenty of products to choose from.
When I first started buying flaxseed oil, I found there were many different supplement companies that sold their own brand of flaxseed oil.
I also found a few companies that only specialized in selling healthy oils.
Some of the more popular brands in North America are Natrol, Spectrum, Nature’s Way and Now Foods.
So how you’ll choose the best product may depend on what dosage amount you’re looking for and if you want a 100% pure flaxseed oil or a oil blend.
A popular product from Amazon.com is Barlean’s Organic Flaxseed Oil Soft gels. Each dosage of this particular brand provides a variety of healthy fats, including 1335 mg. of Omega 3 fatty acids, 388 mg. of Omega 6 and 437 mg. of Omega 9’s.
You’ll find that the prices for flaxseed oil capsules will depend on the dosage and amount of soft gels per bottle.
On average, you’re looking at about 100 capsules per bottle can range from $15 – $25 for 1000 mg. soft gels. I recommend you take a close look at the bottle label to determine the actual ingredients per capsule and the cost per capsule.