Linseed - also known as flaxseed -, is known for its beneficial effects on animal health attributed to its composition, comprising omega-6 (linoleic) and omega-3 (α-linolenic) fatty acids, various dietary fibers and lignans, which have health benefits in reducing the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases, lowering the levels of LDL-cholesterol and relaxing the smooth muscle cells in arteries increasing the blood flow. Essential fatty acids from flax participate in several metabolic processes of the cell, not only as structuring components of the cell membrane, but also as storage lipids. Flax is consumed in the form of seeds (whole, milled or roasted), as an oil and as flour to provide basic nutrition. Flax can be considered a functional food. Several formulations containing flax are available on the market in the form of e.g. capsules and microencapsulated powders having potential as nutraceuticals for their beneficial effects on health. This paper revises the different lipid classes found in flaxseeds and their genomics. It also discusses the beneficial effects of flax and flaxseed oil and their biological advantages as ingredients in pharmaceuticals and in nutraceuticals products.
Keywords: linseed, flaxseed, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, essential fatty acids, linseed essential oil.
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