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Can You Digest Whole Flax Seeds? Does Flax Affect Satiety Differently Than Other Fibers?

Question: I was interested to note in the article on using flax fiber to increase satiety that the researchers used WHOLE flax seed. I'd always read previously that whole flax seed passes through the human digestive tract unchanged - that to derive any benefit you need to grind the seeds to meal. Obviously, if the flax affected satiety differently than other forms of fiber, there must be some chemical or nutrient that is released from the flax. But then perhaps the flax isn't any more effective than other fibers????  Have there been studies of how other fibers affect satiety? I would like to know if the human digestive tract does digest whole flax seeds at all, and if flax seeds affect satiety differently than other fibers.

Answer:
 

Most any fiber will pass through the system without changing too much… it won’t be broken down and absorbed like vitamins or minerals. The article is specifically referring to getting the fiber content from the flax, not the Essential Fatty Acids, which you would get from whole flax seeds or ground flax seeds. The flax seed itself is very difficult for the body to break down normally, you’re exactly right about that, but the grinding is only necessary if you are looking for more of the EFAs.

The study information didn’t specify why the flax seed fiber helped with satiety, just reported that it did… at this time, we don’t know if it’s just the fiber filling up the stomach or some other chemical occurring in the flax seed fiber that promoted the satiety, just that it does. The study author also specifies “Further research is however necessary” so it’s not fully known at this time, but hopefully further research will point out why it works… until then, we just know that it does seem to cut feelings of hunger.


This question was answered by a trained product specialist at Swanson Health Products. 

(Note: as per industry regulations, we cannot and will not answer medical questions, make treatment or diagnosis recommendations or comment on disease inquiries. Such questions must be answered by your doctor or professional health care provider.)

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