Linseed - also known as flaxseed - is known for its beneficial effects on animal
health attributed to its composition. Linseed comprises linoleic and α-linolenic fatty acids,
various dietary fibers and lignans, which are beneficial to health because they reduce the risk
of cardiovascular diseases, as well as cancer, decreasing the levels of 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, being considered a functional food, can be
consumed in a variety of ways, including seeds, oil or flour, contributing to basic nutrition.
Several formulations containing flax are available on the market in the form of e.g. capsules
and microencapsulated powders having potential as nutraceuticals. 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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