I would go as far as to hazard a guess and say that over 90% of the respondents would include protein and/or creatine, but I'm not sure how far up on the radar flax would appear... and it's too bad. Flax is a wonder supplement of our day.
But, please allow me to start on a personal note. Many of you know that I started out my road to better health at the robust weight of 335, and very little (if any) was muscle. There was many a day my body let me know it - especially the knees.
They didn't like having to haul around my 56" girth, and complained continuously to that fact. Even after losing 70 lbs (first just by cutting out sugar, and later by following a low carb lifestyle) my knees were stubbornly insisting that their strength and effectiveness had been severely hampered. Bad news.
So I did what every good American did - I started popping ibuprofen and slathering on the Ben Gay in attempt to relieve the pain. No good. My knees had been convinced that I had abused them for too long and they were not going to budge. I began to research my difficulty and found that glucosamine might be a good option.
I popped 3x the standard dose for six months straight with no relief. I was about ready to resign myself to the fact that I was going to have to just stay in pain when another option appeared on the horizon - flax seed and flax oil.
At first I was skeptical that the data I was collecting was, at all, accurate; and don't ask me why I took all the data on glucosamine at face value, while heavily scrutinizing flax, but I did. Maybe because glucosamine came in a pill bottle (looking much like a pharmaceutical grade substance from a high tech lab) while the lowly flax came in a bag or poly bottle. Appearances can be deceiving.
The first thing you notice about flax is the smell, oily and nutty, like heavy walnuts, while the flavor is like oily grass. Yum. I was taking ground flax seed, but oil is just fine. The quantity should be adjusted 3:1 seeds to oil as the oil is much more concentrated. I started out at 9 tablespoons of ground seeds a day, but 3 tablespoons of oil would have been just as effective.
I keep saying ground seeds, because the seeds must be crushed to release their health properties. Some people have mistakenly assumed that you can just eat the seeds without grinding - you can't. Buy them ground and packaged, or buy them whole and grind them in a coffee grinder.
That coffee grinder is now a flax seed grinder and should not be used for anything else, unless you want flax smelling, flax flavored coffee beans. Oil is easier to use and much easier to take, but is, of course, more expensive than seeds.
Perform Volume Measurements!
Some people like to use caps, but seem to have forgotten how to do the math on it. A 1,000 mg cap contains 1 gram of oil. A one tablespoon dose contains 15ml (15 grams; remember metric conversions in school? 1 ml = 1 gram = 1cc). A person would have to take 15-45 caps a day to equal 1-3 tablespoons of oil. Stick with oil or seeds.
I now maintain my health with 3 tablespoons a day (or 1 tablespoon of oil). Aside from the healing to the aching knees, flax has some other pretty amazing properties.
In a previous article, Derek Charlebois writes that flax may have beneficial effects towards:
- Heart attacks
- High cholesterol
- Heart pain
- Multiple sclerosis
And, says Charlebois, bodybuilders can benefit from reduced body fat, enhanced performance, shortened recovery time, reduced muscle soreness, increased utilization of oxygen, and increased utilization of other nutrients.
I personally make it a part of my post cycle therapy after M1T to help restore my T/E balance.
Final analysis, if you're serious, get some flax. It's good for the hormones, good for fat loss, and great for the joints. Don't worry if it doesn't taste good, it's not supposed to. The benefits are so good, you really won't mind.