Flaxseed: Ticket to Trouble

Bette Dowdell

Fish oil’s good for you. Everybody says so. Yeah, fish oil, that’s the ticket.

Well, what about all the warnings about mercury in fish?

Okay then, flaxseed’s good for you. Everybody says so. Yeah, flaxseed, that’s the ticket.

Begging your pardon and all, but there’s a teensy problem with flaxseed. Well, maybe more than just teensy. More like a huge problem, in fact

Flaxseed is a phytoestrogen, which means it’s plant-based (phyto) estrogen. But not exactly estrogen. It’s an imposter in estrogen clothes. It’s called estrogenic, and it’ll do a number on you like you can’t believe.

May I explain?

Every man, woman, boy and girl has estrogen, testosterone and progesterone flowing through their bodies. In different ratios for different groups, of course, but they’re all there.

And they have specific assigned tasks they must do if you want to stay healthy.

Testosterone emitters send out testosterone to testosterone receptors, estrogen emitters to estrogen receptors. Progesterone works that way, too. Everything nicely balanced.

Everything’s swell until something estrogenic comes along.

And then there’s trouble. Big trouble. The estrogen-like compound from flaxseed locks into your estrogen receptors. It, however, can’t perform estrogen’s functions. Estrogenic compounds just lumber in and take squatter’s rights on your estrogen receptors, short-circuiting the process. Your real estrogen has no place to go. The rest of your endocrine system jumps in to help resolve the problem, and pretty soon everything goes south.

Looking past the daily “I think maybe a truck hit me” feeling, let’s talk outcome. It’s called “estrogen dominance.”

Little boys grow up with low testosterone levels. They never know how big, strong and strapping they might have been.

Little girls reach puberty early. Sometimes really early, and don’t you think there should be a kind of substantial break between potty training and puberty?

Women have PMS, endometriosis and a difficult menopause. The worse the problems, the larger the clue to look into estrogen dominance. Yet doctors continue to prescribe soy and flax to fix the very problems they cause.

Men may develop breasts as their testosterone weakens and starts turning into estrogen. The prostate enlarges. The little blue pill becomes more interesting.

See what I mean about flaxseed doing a number on you?

Some bio-identical testosterone could help both men and women, but good luck in getting a doctor to see it that way.

Flaxseed heads the list of estrogenic foods. It’s even worse than soy, for crying out loud! Not to mention the fact they both contain phytates that neutralize your body’s minerals–leading to even more problems.

I’d knock it off with the flaxseed if I were you.

And that business about mercury in fish oil capsules? The never-ending flood of press releases aside, nobody knows. I’d say they’re safe, especially in a quality product.

About the author: Bette Dowdell is not a doctor, nor does she purport to be one. She’s a patient who’s been studying and successfully handling her own endocrine problems for more than 30 years. She offers introductory teleseminars and an in-depth12-month subscription program, “Moving to Health” about dealing with endocrine issues. She explains how things work–or don’t, tells you what to avoid as well as all the things that help, and provides a ton of well-researched nutritional information. Subscribe to her free e-zine at

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