by Julie Coyle (Asheville, NC, USA)
I'm vegetarian and 22 weeks pregnant. I keep hearing that omegas are important for a developing baby, but I've also read that flaxseed oil has an effect on estrogen and hormones which might interfere with your body during pregnancy. Do you recommend taking flaxseed oil? Do you think it's important? Under your nutrition section for vegetarians I saw that you recommend cod liver oil, but I'd rather use a vegetarian source if possible.
In doing a search of scholarly articles, I don't find much information on flaxseed oil and pregnancy. There is a study that concluded that rats whose mothers were fed flaxseed oil while pregnant had changes in their mammary glands. But these rats were getting 5-10% of their diet in flaxseed oil, which really is a huge percentage that a human mother would get nowhere near.
The Weston A Price foundation recommends small amounts of flaxseed oil are beneficial – such as a small amount added to salad dressings. For supplementation they recommend 1-2 tablespoons of whole flax seeds.
Flaxseed oil is a rich source of omegas so it's probably a good choice. I recommend cod liver oil because it's rich in many other nutrients, such as Vitamin A and Vitamin D. The reason breastmilk is “low in Vitamin D” is because most modern mothers are deficient in Vitamin D. There are many reasons to consider cod liver oil over just the fatty acids.
If you'd like to do some of your own research:
Scholarly articles on Flaxseed Oil and Pregnancy
Scholarly Articles on Flaxseed Oil and Estrogen
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