The Chemistry of Flaxseed


Flaxseed is a plant food that has numerous health benefits including lowering the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Flaxseeds are small seeds that can be either brown or yellow and are composed mostly of flaxseed oil. Flaxseed oil is where all the nutrients come from. I chose flaxseed for my project because I have always ate the snack food but have never learned it’s nutritional value. Flaxseed has affected my life because I am always looking to better my body.

Composition of ...

    • Omega 3 Fatty acids
    • Lignans
    • Fiber
    • Oil
  • Fiber

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Omega 3 are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are not produced by the body, but are beneficial to human health. Omega 3 are linked to reducing the risk of cancer stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.Omega 3’s also reduce inflammation in the body, and not just the minor inflammed toe bruise or minor cuts. Omega 3’s can be found in nuts, and fish ( fish oil).

Lignans: Lignans are phytonutrients that compete with estrogen in the human body. They are from the compounds of plants and can be found in many other seeds like sesame seeds. Our bodies actually convert these plant lignans to human lignans. Two example of these human lignans are enterodiol and enterolactone. Enterodiol and enterolactone help reduce cancers that are at risk in women such as ovarian and breast cancer.

Chemistry's Role

Both Omega 3 fatty acids and Lignans are both naturally occurring, which is why flaxseed is such a healthy product that everyone should include in their diet. When lignans compete with estrogen they mimic the amount in the body, making it feel like is more than what appears. When this happens the excess estrogen gets “flushed” out of the body. Reducing the amount of estrogen has been linked to a reduced risk of getting ovarian and breast cancer. Omega 3 fatty acids work by incorporating themselves into the cell membranes in all tissues in the body. Reduced inflammation in the kidneys works by decreasing the thickness of the blood, reducing cholesterol, becoming less inflamed.

Background Research

Flaxseed was originally cultivated from China and Egypt. It is grown in much cooler climates and and today is mostly grown in North Dakota and Minnesota. Once planted, flaxseed is ready to be harvested after 100 days, where they become a yellow-brown and are split. Once harvested they are stored and shipped.


Flaxseed is a seed from the plant Linum Usitatissimum

Is a plant food that has numerous health benefits, Improve kidney function, lower cholesterol and swelling. Grown in cooler climates

All about Lignans

All about Lignans, Enterodiol and Enterolactone

Growing flaxseed

Where flaxseed is grown today

About the Author

Brooklin Morris is a junior at Billings Senior High School who enjoys to learn new ways to improve her health. Brooklin is on the Honor Roll, plays the viola in chamber orchestra, and has a goal to attend The University of Oregon after graduation. She has a love for music, especially the pieces she play with her classmates.