The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Whole or Ground Flax Seed?

Posted on January 26, 2010 by The VRG Blog Editor

VRG received this question:

“In the 2007 first issue of the Vegetarian Journal you state that alpha linolenic acid in whole flaxseed can not be absorbed well. Can you please explain why.”

Thanks for your note. This is what the Canadian Flax Council has to say: See

Which is better for me, whole or ground flax seed?

Ground flax seed provides more nutritional benefits than does whole seed. That’s because flax seeds are very hard, making them difficult to crack, even with careful chewing. Grinding flax seeds breaks them up, making them easier to digest when eaten. Then the body can profit from all that flax goodness.

If whole flax seeds remain unbroken, they may pass undigested through the body, reducing the nutritional advantage of eating flax seed in the first place.

So, based on this, I suggested using ground flaxseeds or flaxseed oil.

Hope this helps.

Reed Mangels, PhD, RD
Nutrition Advisor
The Vegetarian Resource Group

1 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 12 03 10 10:50

    The VRG Blog

2 to “Whole or Ground Flax Seed?”

  1. tom hart says:

    Hi Reed-

    Thank you for answering my question.

    I have been a vegan for six years and have a degree in analytical chemistry. I read your 2007 article carefully several times.

    Do you feel that attempting to optimize the la to ala ratio is a valid metric? Do you recommend taking a dha supplement?

    Are nutrients also difficult to obtain from whole chia and sesame seeds? Thank you.


  2. The VRG Blog Editor says:

    Reed has answered Tom’s questions here:

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