I am pleased by these results:
After a possibly overzealous dentist told me I need a gum graft [which may cost $3000], my husband encouraged me to start taking flaxseed oil. A few people online have reported that flaxseed oil dramatically improved their gum health, and we figured it was worth a shot.
My initial dose of flaxseed oil was two tablespoons a day, and my gums stopped bleeding and hurting within three days. This is pretty huge for me, because my gums have been bleeding since I was in junior high. [Emphasis added.] At the same time, I added using a Sonicare toothbrush and flossing a little more vigorously. Considering that I had tried these things in the past without the flaxseed oil and they only made me bleed more, I feel like the flaxseed oil is the difference maker.
I have subsequently reduced my flaxseed oil dose to one tablespoon, which I feel is more appropriate for a woman my size. I haven’t gained any weight from the flaxseed oil, which was a bit of a surprise. Taking it in the morning seems to help curb my appetite by at least the 130 calories it consumes.
The online reports she mentions are from this blog. A recap: Because of the Shangri-La Diet, one evening I took four or five flaxseed oil capsules. The next morning, I was surprised to notice that putting on my shoes standing up, which I’d done hundreds of times, was much easier than usual. This suggested that the flaxseed oil had improved my balance. I started to carefully measure my balance and varied my flaxseed oil intake. My measurements showed that variations in amount of flaxseed oil really did affect my balance. They also suggested the best dose. My balance improved up to a dose of 3 tablespoons/day of flaxseed oil. So the best dose was about 3 tablespoons per day. I blogged about this.
Tyler Cowen, inspired by my results, started taking 2 tablespoons/day. A month later, he no longer needed gum surgery. Knowing nothing about my flaxseed oil intake or Tyler Cowen’s results, my dentist told me my gums were in excellent shape, better than ever. My sister’s gums showed similar improvement. Tucker Max noticed his gums stopped bleeding after he started taking flaxseed oil. He’d had bleeding gums most of his adult life. Nothing else had helped. He also found training injuries healed faster. When he stopped drinking flaxseed oil, his gums soon got worse. Carl Willat noticed dramatic gum improvement. Joyce Cohen had excellent results (her gums were “in great shape — better than ever”). Tim Beneke and Jack Rusher had similar results. Gary Wolf, on the other hand, didn’t like the mental effects. A recent epidemiological study found a weak correlation between inflamed gums and omega-3 intake.
What have I learned? Above all, that such a pattern of results is possible. These results suggest there was/is a big hole in the usual nutritional ideas. Tyler Cowen, me, my sister, etc., were eating a conventionally “good diet” yet there was a lot of room for improvement, both in brain function and overall inflammation level. (I’m sure flaxseed oil heals gums because it reduces inflammation.) And improvement wasn’t hard — there was a simple fix. In other words, omega-3 deficiency is very common. The conventional deficiency diseases, such as scurvy and pellagra, were/are rare. They appeared only under extreme conditions with very limited diets (e.g., prison, long sea voyage). Yet just as scurvy and pellagra are easily cured, there is a simple cure for omega-3 deficiency: about 2 tablespoons/day of flaxseed oil. (Perhaps ground flaxseed is an even better source.)
Other facts support the idea of widespread omega-3 deficiency. When gums are very red, and bleed very easily, it’s called gingivitis. According to this article, ” estimates of the general prevalence of adult gingivitis vary from approximately 50 to 100%”. Heart disease is common. There’s plenty of evidence that heart disease is caused by inflammation (gated). For example, it’s well-known that inflamed gums correlate with heart disease. Statins may reduce heart disease — to the mild extent they do — because they reduce inflammation.
I also learned that psychology can help improve general health (too much inflammation causes all sorts of problems, as Tucker Max’s experience suggests). My background in experimental psychology made it easy for me to measure balance. I also found other mental tests were sensitive to flaxseed oil. These mental tests were like an animal model in the sense that they made helpful experiments (e.g., different doses) much easier. My friend Kenneth Carpenter, in his book about the discovery of Vitamin C (gated), stressed the importance of an animal model of scurvy. Once the best dose of flaxseed oil (for me) was known, it turned out to be easy to take a dose that produced dramatic improvement (in others).
The idea that psychology and self-experimentation can improve overall health is new. I presented my flaxseed oil results at a meeting of the Psychonomic Society a few years ago. After my talk, one member of the audience, a professor of psychology at Illinois State University, angrily complained that my talk was “pop culture” — not even pop psychology — and said I shouldn’t have been allowed to speak. He thought I had made elementary mistakes.