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Pura Vida of NA, LLC

Newsletter for February 2013

FLAX OIL - Buyer Beware

All flax products are good for you. However, some are significantly better than others. As a consumer, you have to determine your own personal health and nutritional needs and then decide which product is for you. However, it's easier to make better choices when you know the facts. There is no doubt that flax oil is an excellent source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids. However, if you are taking flax oil, you are not giving your body the full advantage of flax. Flax oil is obtained by pressing raw seed to expel the oil. Flax oil is made up almost entirely of polyunsaturated oils ("good fat"). These oils go rancid very quickly when exposed to oxygen or light, and if heated, turn from the good "cis-form" of fatty acids into the bad "trans-form".

Shelf life is an issue with flax oil. According to Seigfried Gursche, author of "Fantastic Flax", flax oil should not be purchased after six months past the pressing date and should be consumed within three weeks after opening. It must be refrigerated and packaged in dark containers, as light will damage the oil. Quality is also an important factor when purchasing flax oil and as a consumer, you need to be very careful. Not all manufacturers offer the quality their label promises. The term "cold processed" does not necessarily mean the oil has been "cold pressed". Considerable amounts of heat may be generated in the pressing process. Excessive heat will off-flavor the oil which then requires further processing (refining) to make it palatable. However, this refining process requires high temperatures, which changes the molecular structure of the flax oil to the dangerous trans-form, which is known to cause certain types of cancer, heart disease and other degenerative diseases.

Some flax oils advertise having increased lignans. After the seed is pressed to extract the oil, about 20% of the crushed outer shell particles are put back in. On average, flax seed contains about 1.6% lignans. Flax oil contains only about 2% of the 1.6% lignans available in the whole seed. Based on this, flax oil that is promoted as having increased lignans, in fact, only contains about 0.35% lignans - which hardly seems worth mentioning.

Flax oil contains no lignans unless added and only trace amounts of vitamins, fiber, protein and enzymes.

Sprout Revolution Flax Powders are a "whole food" with dramatically higher levels of vitamins and digestive enzymes than either milled flax or flax oil. They are naturally shelf-stable for more than one year after opening and require no refrigeration or special packaging. The omega-3 fatty acids and lignans are increased and thermo-stable, meaning you can bake with them. No other flax products on the market come close to comparing to Sprout Revolution flax powders. Just ask anyone who's tried them and they'll agree.