Flax Oil and Antioxidants

Flax oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids, and in particular is rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, C18:3 (n-3)). Being a polyunsaturated fatty acid, ALA is susceptible to rancidity as it reacts rapidly with oxygen, a reaction that is speeded by light and heat. Storing flaxseed oil is therefore problematic as there is a high risk of rancidity that causes spoilage. Any supplement containing flaxseed oil must therefore be stored carefully if its original health giving properties are to be maintained. One solution to this, is to minimise exposure of the flaxseed oil to oxygen, light and heat. Another solution that would work in conjunction to this is to add antioxidants to the oil. Flax seeds will already contain antioxidants as the plant adds these to protect the oil. However, supplements of flaxseed oil may not be so well protected, and where possible, the addition of antioxidants is recommended. Some of the antioxidants that work best include vitamin E, spices such as rosemary and thyme as well as carotenoids such as astaxanthin. 

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, protect Yourself


Łukaszewicz, M., Szopa, J. and Krasowska, A. 2004. Susceptibility of lipids from different flax cultivars to peroxidation and its lowering by added antioxidants. Food Chemistry. 88(2): 225-231

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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