Q: I take flax-oil supplements every day and I was alarmed to read in your September 2008 issue that high intake of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), found in flax, was actually associated with an increase in risk for early age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Should I stop taking flax oil?


Answer :We checked with the lead researcher on that study, Elaine W. T. Chong, MBBS, of the University of Melbourne in Australia, who replied: This does not mean that our results are definitive. People should not be overly concerned regarding ALA flax-seed capsule intake. However, they should be aware that it is the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) that have been associated with a protective effect for AMD and other health conditions,and less so ALA.


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