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Why flaxseed may offer an advantage in your product

Which seed is better?

These two little seeds, flaxseed and chia seed, have been in the spotlight with consumers and food businesses over the last several decades due to their impressive omega 3 fatty acid, fiber, and antioxidant content. With such similar nutrition profiles, it can be hard for consumers and manufacturers alike to decide which is the best option. This article will aim to explain the differences between each specialty seed and why flaxseed comes ahead in terms of omega 3 content, research data, and price.


Chia seeds and flaxseeds are both good sources alpha linoleic acid (ALA) (omega 3 fatty acid). Flaxseeds happen to be 5% higher in ALA and higher in protein, thiamine, copper, and potassium while chia seeds have 7% more fiber and are richer in calcium [1], [2], [3]. The antioxidant profile of each seed is different. Chia seed supplies polyphenols and antioxidants including caffeic acid, rosmarinic acid, myricetin, quercetin, and more [4]. Whereas flaxseed contains lignans, phenolic acids, and flavonoids [5].

Bioavailability is a factor that is sometimes overlooked in the excitement over health claims. Both flaxseed and chia seed have very little bioavailability in whole form. Whole flaxseeds offer little health benefits to humans or animals because the seed coat keeps all the omega 3 fatty acids, nutrients, antioxidants, and protein inside its hard outer shell. Flaxseed must be milled to provide all the nutritional benefits mentioned above. Chia seeds have the same problem. While whole chia seeds are good for gut health, the omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants remain mostly inaccessible to the body [6], [7].

Availability of Clinical Trials

Doing a simple search on PubMed will demonstrate a general lack of clinical trials for chia seed compared to flaxseed. Over the years, chia seed companies have used research done with flaxseeds to promote their products. While the nutritional profile of both seeds is similar, more research should be done to show the benefits of chia seeds on human nutrition. Several systematic reviews of clinical trials done with chia seeds indicate more quality research is needed [8], [9], [10], [11]. While this doesn’t mean health benefits do not exist, studies on chia seed are not nearly as robust as they are for flaxseed where clinical trials have shown cardiovascular, weight-related, and anti-inflammatory effects from flaxseed consumption [12], [13], [14].


Price may be the single biggest factor in your decision to include either chia seed or flaxseed in your product. While flaxseeds are grown in Canada and the U.S., chia seeds are almost exclusively imported which significantly drives up costs. When chia seeds can’t offer a nutritional profile any better than that of flaxseed, why would you pay more money to use them in your product?


Consumers want healthy options, but with inflation driving up grocery store prices, price remains an important factor [15], [16]. Flaxseeds may be a great way to make the same (or better!) nutritional claims as chia seeds while giving your bottom line a boost.


[1]          “Seeds, chia seeds, dried.” United States Department of Agriculture. (accessed May 20, 2024)

[2]          “Seeds, flaxseed.” United States Department of Agriculture. (accessed May 20, 2024)

[3]          A. Petre. “Chia Seeds vs. Flax Seeds – Is one healthier than the other?” Healthline. (accessed May 20, 2024)

[4]          M. K. Hrncic, M. Ivanoski, D. Cor, Z, Knez. “Chia Seeds (Salvia Hispanica L.): An Overview—Phytochemical Profile, Isolation Methods, and Application.” Molecules, vol. 25, no. 1, 11, Jan 2020, doi:

[5]          V. Musazadeh, et al. “Flaxseed Oil Supplementation Augments Antioxidant Capacity and Alleviates Oxidative Stress: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2021, doi: 10.1155/2021/4438613

[6]          C. L. Joaquim, C. Paz-Yépez, A. Asensio-Grau, A. Heredia, A. Andrés. “Impact of Processing and Intestinal Conditions on in Vitro Digestion of Chia (Salvia hispanica) Seeds and Derivatives” Foods vol. 9, no. 3, 290, March 202, doi:

[7]          R. A. Labanca, C. Svelander, M. Alminger, F. Yildiz. “Effect of Particle Size of Chia Seeds on Bioaccessibility of Phenolic Compounds during in Vitro Digestion.” Cogent Food & Agriculture 5, no. 1, Aug. 2019, doi:10.1080/23311932.2019.1694775

[8]          S. L. Teoh, N. M. Lai, P. Vanichkulpitak, V. Vuksan, H. Ho, N. Chaiyakunapruk, “Clinical evidence on dietary supplementation with chia seed (Salvia hispanica L.): a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Nutrition Reviews, vol. 76, no. 4, 219–242, April 2018, doi:

[9]          C. de Souza Ferreira, L. de Fátima D., G.  Espirito Santo da Silva, G. Rosa. “Effect of chia seed (Salvia hispanica L.) consumption on cardiovascular risk factors in humans: a systematic review.” Nutrición Hospitalaria, vol. 32, no. 5,1909-1918, 2015, doi:

[10]        D. C. Nieman, et al. “Chia Seed Supplementation and Disease Risk Factors in Overweight Women: A Metabolomics Investigation.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, vol. 19., no. 7, Jul 2012, doi:

[11]        J. Parker, A. N. Schellenberger, A. L. Roe, H. Oketch-Rabah, A. I. Calderon. “Therapeutic Perspectives on Chia Seed and Its Oil: A Review.” Planta Med, Vol 84, 606-612, 2018, doi:

[12]        L. Li, H. Li, Y. Gao, S. Vafaei, X. Zhang, M. Yang. “Effect of flaxseed supplementation on blood pressure: a systematic review, and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials.” Food Funct., vol 14, no. 2, 675-690, Jan 2023, doi: 10.1039/d2fo02566c

[13]        H. Ahmadniay Motlagh, E. Aalipanah, M. Mazidi, S. Faghih. “Effect of flaxseed consumption on central obesity, serum lipids, and adiponectin level in overweight or obese women: A randomised controlled clinical trial.” Int J Clin Pract., vol 75, no. 10, e1459, Oct 2021, doi: 10.1111/ijcp.14592

[14]        N. Khandouzi, A. Zahedmehr, A. Mohammadzadeh, H. R. Sanati, J. Nasrollahzadeh. “Effect of flaxseed consumption on flow-mediated dilation and inflammatory biomarkers in patients with coronary artery disease: a randomized controlled trial.” Eur J Clin Nutr., vol 73, no. 2, 258-265, Feb 2019, doi: 10.1038/s41430-018-0268-x

[15]        J. Gelski. “Price increasingly an issue in clean label.” Food Business News. (accessed May 20, 2024).

[16]        C. Wilson. “Grocery shoppers redefine value amid inflationary pressures.” Food Business News. (accessed May 20, 2024).

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