There’s been a lot of press lately for olive oil and its inclusion in the “Mediterranean diet” — and for good reason. Olive oil, along with other healthful foods, has proven to usher in a number of heart benefits. But what about other oils — are there any that are equally as good for you as olive oil? How about flax oil? It’s full of omega-3 fatty acids, as it’s made from pressed flaxseed. Omega-3s have been proven to boost mental health, amongst other things.
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Now evidence has appeared that flax oil may also give a big health boost to your gastrointestinal system. This health tip comes courtesy of a recent clinical trial that tested this healing food against the ill-effects of a popular cancer drug.
The drug in question is called “cisplatin,” or CP for short. CP is usually administered to help the body fight off solid tumors. Unfortunately, CP can cause a few nasty side effects, mostly in the form of very significant and long-lasting gastrointestinal symptoms. To figure out a way around these debilitating symptoms, a research team pitted flax oil against CP.
The omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid-enriched flaxseed oil was given to one group of rats in this animal study, prior to and following CP treatment. Another group of rats was administered only CP. The research team found that the rats fed CP showed a significant decline in the functioning of specific digestive enzymes. There were also increased signs of lipid peroxidation, indicating that the administration of the cancer drug was causing a lot of oxidative stress to the digestive system. The drug also decreased the action of certain beneficial compounds in the digestive tract, such as catalase and glutathione peroxidase.
In contrast, dietary supplementation of flax oil prior to and following CP treatment significantly lessened the negative CP-induced changes. Feeding the rats flax oil seemed to provide the rats with an enhanced resistance to the adverse gastrointestinal effects of CP.
It stands to reason that if flax oil could reverse the side effects of cisplatin, it could also protect you from the milder damage that ingested toxins and chemicals can inflict on your digestive system.