Best Flaxseed Oils

Updated July 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

22 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
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231 Consumers Consulted
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best flaxseed oils

Last Updated July 2019

Whether applied topically or taken orally, oils that are derived from plants have many uses and offer many benefits. However, not all plant-based oils are as versatile as flaxseed oil. From conditioning skin and hair to possibly improving heart health to many cooking uses, this oil is packed with nutrients that can be beneficial to your appearance, health, and diet.

Flaxseed oil is extracted from flaxseed by grinding or pressing them to maintain the nutritional benefits they provide. Just like whole flaxseeds, the resulting oil contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, or alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), plus other fatty acids like 6 and 9 that are known to improve cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation. The properties of flaxseed oil also have the potential to improve the appearance of skin, and may improve digestive issues for some individuals. It can even be used in recipes for foods like salad dressing, thanks to its rich consistency and nutty flavor.

If you’d like to give flaxseed oil a try, you can choose from capsule or liquid form, and select the brand that offers the level of omega-3 acid to fit your needs. Organic, cold-pressed, and vegetarian options are also available, although some formulas must be stored in the refrigerator to keep them from spoiling. We think you’ll appreciate the variety offered in our favorite flaxseed oils, as well as the helpful information below that will help you decide which one to buy.

Flax seeds vary in color from golden to dark brown. When oil is extracted from the seeds, it has a rich, deep yellow color.

Flaxseed oil benefits

It’s the omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed oil that are known to offer heart-healthy benefits. Although taking flaxseed oil may not prevent heart disease or related conditions, there is no question omega-3 fatty acids are important to the body. In addition, flaxseed oil is beneficial for other health and culinary purposes.

  • Better cholesterol levels: Taking more omega-3 fatty acids can lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol), which, in turn, can potentially improve total cholesterol levels in the body.

  • Lowered blood pressure: Some studies have suggested that flaxseed oil might lower blood pressure.

  • Healthier hair: The omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed oil are nourishing to hair follicles, which can lead to stronger, shinier hair. It can also be applied directly to hair as a deep conditioner.

  • Reduction in inflammation: Taking flaxseed oil has the potential to reduce inflammation that can irritate skin or cause other health problems.

  • Softer skin: Ingesting fatty acids like those in flaxseed oil can moisturize skin from within. Its anti-inflammatory properties can also soothe the effects of conditions like rosacea, psoriasis, acne, dark under-eye circles, and more when applied topically.

  • Improved digestion: For some consumers, flaxseed oil benefits the digestive system by improving motility, resulting in more regular bowel movements. The downside is that it can also cause stomach upset and diarrhea in some individuals with sensitive systems.

  • Culinary helper: Flaxseed oil in liquid form can be mixed with seasoning to make a tasty, nutrient-packed salad dressing. It can also be mixed with smoothies, or drizzled over pasta to add more fatty acids to meals and snacks. Many fans of cooking with cast iron skillets swear by its ability to season their cookware; however, its high fatty acid content doesn’t make it a good choice for frying foods, as the heat can eliminate the healthful benefits of the oil.
DID YOU KNOW?

In addition to omega-3 fatty acids, some flaxseed oils also contain omega-6, otherwise known as linoleic acid, and omega-9 or oleic acid.

Key considerations before consuming flaxseed oil

Liquid vs. capsules

Flaxseed oil in liquid form is versatile. While you can take the recommended daily amount by the spoonful, you can also pour it out of the bottle to use topically.

  • Liquid

    • You’ll need to purchase liquid form if you plan to use flaxseed oil for cooking.

    • Storing the oil in your refrigerator is usually necessary to maintain freshness.

    • Choose liquid if you don’t like swallowing pills.
       

  • Capsules

    • Flaxseed oil capsules are usually in gel-cap form, don’t require refrigeration, and can easily be swallowed by most individuals without ever detecting the flavor of the contents.

    • The trade-off for the convenience factor of capsules is that the flaxseed oil can’t easily be used for other purposes.

Features

Quantity

Flaxseed oil in liquid form is available in bottles of various sizes, most commonly 8, 16, 24, and 32 ounces. Gel capsules are also available in different quantities, typically 90 to 250 pills per bottle. Pay attention to each capsule’s potency, as you may be able to get the same dosage from one high-potency capsule as you would taking three lower-strength capsules.

Flavor

The flavor of flaxseed oil is only an issue with the liquid form, and can vary from brand to brand. It can be difficult to determine if you’ll enjoy the flavor until you actually taste it, but some manufacturers put descriptions of what you might expect on labels. Some brands also offer flaxseed oil in different flavor options for consumers who don’t like the taste of flax. To most, flaxseed oil tastes slightly bitter and nutty.

Quality

Some terms that refer to aspects of the manufacturing process of flaxseed oil can be indicators of quality.

  • Organic oils are made from plants that haven’t been treated with pesticides.

  • Cold-pressed flaxseed oil has been processed with few steps or little to no heat, which could interfere with purity.

  • Vegetarian options are made without animal products.

  • If you prefer to keep genetically-engineered foods out of your diet, look for oils with “non-GMO” on the label.

Fatty acid content

When it comes to the contents of omega-3 oils in flaxseed oil liquids or capsules, the amount per dosage or capsule is indicated on the packaging in milligrams, or mgs. The mg per dose varies from brand to brand.

Safety concerns

For most people, taking flaxseed oil offers far more benefits than risks. However, there are a few safety concerns that consumers should be aware of before adding it to their diets.

  • First, always ask your doctor if it’s OK for you to start taking flaxseed oil, or before making any other dietary change for that matter.

  • Interactions with other supplements and medications are rare, but flaxseed oil can interfere with the absorption of some medications.

  • Because flaxseed oil can lower blood pressure and blood glucose levels, individuals who take medications for high blood pressure or diabetes should check with their doctors before taking it.

  • Pregnant or nursing women should not take flaxseed oil.

  • Individuals with blood clotting disorders should also seek medical advice before taking flaxseed oil, as it can increase the risk of bleeding or delay clotting.

  • Those with sensitive digestive systems may experience stomach upset or diarrhea after taking flaxseed oil.

  • Although quite rare, occasional allergic reactions to the oil have occurred.

EXPERT TIP

Flaxseed oil is highly concentrated, so only a few gel capsules or tablespoons are needed to get a beneficial amount of ALA in your diet.


Staff  | BestReviews

Flaxseed oil prices

Flaxseed oil in both capsule and liquid varieties start as low as $9 per bottle and can cost upwards of $35, but keep in mind that some brands have fewer doses per bottle, which could result in higher costs if you take the oil on daily basis.

Capsules by brands known for quality start around $9 for 90 to 100-count, but you can also find options with 120, 200, or 250 capsules to around $13 to $16.

Flaxseed oil in liquid form in 8 to 24-ounce bottles is available for about $9 to $16.

You’ll pay about $18 to $20 for premium brands that offer vegetarian capsules, or liquid flaxseed oil infused with flavoring. If you prefer to purchase the liquid form in a large bottle, 32-ounce portions range in price from $20 to $35.

Flaxseed oil is a good substitute for fish oil if you want to add plant-based omega-3 fatty acids to their diets.

Staff
BestReviews

Tips

  • If you are thinking about taking flaxseed oil to improve your health, check with your doctor first.

  • Store flaxseed capsules in a cool, dry location to prevent them from sticking together. If you choose liquid form, keep in the refrigerator as indicated.

  • Never substitute flaxseed oil for prescribed medication; instead, take it as a supplement if it’s approved as an addition to medications prescribed by your doctor.

  • Stop taking flaxseed oil if you notice any bothersome symptoms or unpleasant side effects.

  • While there are scientific studies that demonstrate flaxseed oils’ beneficial properties, there are others that suggest there is no solid proof that it can improve various health conditions.

  • Take only the amount of flaxseed oil recommended on the label of the brand you choose.

  • Take flaxseed oil gel capsules with water to make swallowing them easier.

  • Liquid flaxseed oil makes a nice coat conditioner for dogs that are prone to skin allergies, hot spots, and other irritations.

Other products we considered

If you are a vegetarian and prefer to take flaxseed oil in the form of capsules, Sports Research 100% Vegan Flaxseed Oil Softgels aren’t made with gelatin like some other brands. They are also made of pure, cold-pressed flaxseed oil, and come in a bottle with 180 capsules. Repeat customers report good results for skin and hair after taking this product. NOW 1000mg Softgels are an affordable option, and we love that they are made from the oil of flax plants that were grown organically. Some consumers just don’t like the flavor of flaxseed oil, but don’t like to swallow capsules either. That’s why we recommend Barlean’s Seriously Delicious Omega-3 Flax Oil, which comes in a variety of flavors, including strawberry banana smoothie. It’s easy to mix with other foods because of the tasty flavor, plus its also vegan, kosher, and non-GMO.

You can boost the beneficial oils in your favorite salad dressing by simply mixing a few teaspoons of liquid flaxseed oil into the bottle.

FAQ

Q. What does flaxseed oil taste like?

A. Most people who take flaxseed oil describe the flavor as nutty. However, this varies from brand to brand, as some oils have milder tastes than others. The flavor of capsules isn’t usually an issue, because they are typically swallowed whole.

Q. Are flaxseed gel capsules difficult to swallow?

A. Flaxseed capsules can be quite large, so this could pose a problem if you usually have a hard time swallowing pills. However, the coating on most capsules is glossy, and gets quite slippery when taken with water. This helps them slide down the throat easily for most consumers.

Q. Are flaxseed oil and linseed oil the same?

A. Linseed oil is another form of flaxseed oil. Both are from the seeds of the flax or linum usitatissimu plant, however linseed oil goes through a different form of processing and is often used for household purposes.

Q. Can vegans take flaxseed gel capsules?

A. The answer is both yes and no. The shell of the capsules that hold the flaxseed oil are sometimes made of gelatin, which is an animal-based ingredient. However, some companies make gel capsules that are made of plant-based starch and glycerin that are suitable for vegans to consume.

The team that worked on this review
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Karen
    Karen
    Writer
  • Katie
    Katie
    Editorial Director
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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