Flax seed is a little seed that is obtained from the flax plant, a blue, flowering plant that grows widely across America. It is gaining renown for the health benefits it offers, such as a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels and helping prevent heart disease. However, there are side effects associated with taking flax seed.
As a result of its high fiber content, when flax seed is consumed in large amounts, it may cause loose stools or diarrhea. This can occur when more than two tablespoons of flax seed are ingested.
Taking flax seed may result in increased production of stomach gases, which would cause bloating and a feeling of being full.
A person may have an allergic reaction to flax seed, which could result in hives, swelling, wheezing and trouble breathing. Any allergic reaction must be reported to a doctor immediately.
A serious side effect of flax seed is bleeding and easy bruising. In extreme cases, it may cause a hemorrhagic stroke, which is characterized by bleeding in the brain.
When flax seed is not ingested with sufficient water, it may cause severe constipation or an intestinal blockage.
According to the Mayo Clinic, unripe flax seed pods may be poisonous. Small amounts of cyanide are found in a number of raw foods and are neutralized in the body at ordinary levels. Raw flax seed may increase blood levels of cyanide (see Resource below).