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What Are The Side Effects Of Chia Seed And Their Solutions?

What Are The Side Effects Of Chia Seed And Their Solutions?

In the diets of ancient Mayans and Aztecs, chia seeds together with beans and corns were a staple. Chia seeds are tiny oval and have been known for their health benefits in body. In recent years, a lot has been talked about these seeds and they have really made a big comeback.

Nowadays, you can virtually find dried chia seeds in majority of food stores. However, amidst the increasing popularity of these seeds, questions have been raised about their safety and the possible potential side effects they could bring to people who eat them. This article examines the possible side effects as well as allergy reactions which may occur when you take too much of chia seeds.

Allergy Reactions

While it is not common to have allergies related to chia seeds, they do actually occur, and it is possible that when you take them, you will experience signs of allergy. The symptoms of allergy caused by chia seeds may include watery eyes, rashes, and hives. A person may also develop more severe allergic reactions such as vomiting, diarrhea, breathing difficulties, and swelling of tongue.

Evidence shows that some cross reactivity may exist between some foods and chia seeds; this is especially so with foods perceived to be taxonomically close the chia plant for example, oregano and thyme. These two (oregano and thyme belong to family of plants known as Labiatae, which is also the same family of chia. Sesame as well as mustard have also indicated some cross reaction when taken alongside chia. These reactions occur in some individuals.

Reduced Blood Pressure Or Bleeding

omega 3The concentration of omega-3 fatty acids in chia seeds may at times act as a blood thinner. In people who take blood thinners such as warfarin and aspirin, or those that are scheduled to have a surgery procedure, they need to avoid taking chia seeds.

They should talk to their doctor prior to adding chia to their diet regime. Having an overdose of blood thinner could result in excess bleeding something that may turn severe and create other complications.

On top of that, people who have low blood pressure may consider consulting with healthcare professionals before they can add chia seeds to their diet. Chia seeds seem to have the capability of lowering diastolic blood pressure or DBP to some alarming levels.

Increased Risk Of Developing Prostate Cancer

In one study conducted to determine the effects of alpha-linolenic acid in the chia seed and its association with increased risks of developing cancer, it found some interesting aspects. The case-controlled study as well as other meta-analysis of various observation studies have indicated there are some relationships between the dominating fatty acid found in chia seeds (alpha-linolenic acid) and the risk of prostate cancer.

linolenic acidThese studies were mainly conducted sometimes in the early 2000s. Though, in yet another recent meta-analysis, there has been found that there existed some publication bias in those earlier studies, which were done on alpha-linolenic acid-ALA, and prostate cancer.

In the recent publication of a meta-analysis published in 2009 in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it concluded that if at all there is any risk of developing prostate cancer due to taking high amount of ALA; then it might just be small.

However, based on the previous studies, it may not be ruled out that high amounts of ALA cannot cause prostate cancer— there is a likelihood that people who take chia seeds may develop cancer. But cancer is a complex disease, and not all people who take a high amount of ALA or chia may be able to develop cancer.

Effects On Pregnant Women- Unknown

It may not be known how chia seeds are likely to affect pregnant women, however, most health authorities warn women who are pregnant or breastfeeding to avoid eating chia seeds so as to stay on the safer side. This is until research is conducted to determine that the seeds are safe for the mother and the baby.

While this may not seem as persuasion to keep you from taking chia seeds considering their health benefits, it should, however, act as a sign of warning and caution. In case you’re pregnant and want to add more chia seeds to your diet, you may want to talk to a healthcare professional and educate yourself as much as possible.

Gastrointestinal Side Effects

chia seedsSome of the common side effects people complain about when they take chia seeds are gastrointestinal problems. Chia seeds are associated with a range of gut problems such as constipation, bloating, hard stool, diarrhea, and excessive gas in the intestine.

However, many of these side effects do not seem to be serious, and they can be prevented by altering the diet so that it entails more fiber. Using rich fiber chia seeds may reduce these gastrointestinal problems. You may want to get more information about this aspect by reading about chia seeds and how to prevent constipation and bloating.

Controversies On Weight Loss

While there is more information pointing that chia seeds can help in weight loss, on the other hand, there are still conflicting issues. One reason these seeds may help in weight loss is due to their high fiber content. They have the hydrophilic properties, which are helpful in weight loss. They will readily absorb water. For example, it is thought that chia seeds can absorb close to 12 times of water equivalent to their volume. When the seeds are added to cooked food, it increases the bulkiness, and it may create the feeling of being full or satiety.

Chia SeedsThis ensures that you reduce the calories you are putting in the body. Chia seeds may in theory act as appetite suppressants because they make one to feel like they are full. The thick get of the seeds, when added to water, it may be used in place of baking or cooking fat.

In addition to that, the fiber content is also known to help in increasing the transit time of food in the gut. With all these perceived benefits, the problem is that there is no any clinical study, which has been conducted to confirm and support such claims.

And in fact, researcher in the Appalachian State University, North Carolina, in their issue “Nutrition Research” reported that having chia seed supplements indicated no more weight loss in about 90 overweight people or adults after 12 weeks, and this was in relation to adults receiving a placebo. Taking too much of chia seeds could also cause gastrointestinal problems that interfere with the process of absorption in the intestine and hence resulting in poor health.

Effects On Blood Sugar Levels

According to Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, it indicates that clinical studies have shown chia seeds can help in regulating the levels of serum glucose. On the other hand, as with heart medications, the same chia seeds could increase activities of drugs that help in controlling blood sugar. You may want to talk to a doctor before you take chia seeds especially if you have a history of suffering from diabetes.

Adverse Cardiovascular Effects

chia seedsAccording to Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, it cites that some studies have indicated chia seed supplements can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease in people with Type II diabetes.

The effects included reduced levels of blood sugar, C-reactive proteins, and fibrinogen. On the other side, the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center also indicates that these results of chia seeds may actually increase the effects or activity of medications taken to treat lower blood pressure.

Therefore, if you are currently taking anti-hypertensive drugs, you may want to talk to your doctor before you can include chia seeds in your diet. People who have other risks of developing heart disease may also want to consult with healthcare practitioners before they can take chia seeds.

How To Mitigate Side Effects Of Chia Seeds

Due to the higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids within chia seeds, it is important that patients who are using blood pressure drugs and those taking blood thinners or scheduled to have an operation, they be cautious when they take chia seeds. This is because of the chia seeds known ability to create low blood pressure. People taking prescription medications to manage their heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure or obesity should ensure they consult with their doctor and inform them about any need to take chia seeds.

doctorThey shouldn’t include chia seed into their diet without informing their doctor. Doctors may need to adjust the dosage of such people if they have to take chia seeds. This may depend on the evaluation of the side effects and the benefits the chia seeds are likely to bring to the patients.

At times, some prescription drugs may be eliminated, or the dosages altered. People who have shown a history of developing allergy reactions from foods belonging to the same family of chia seeds such as mustard seeds; they may want to refrain from taking chia because the same side effects may develop.

Pregnant women should also stay away from chia seeds until they have given birth since there is no scientific information or study, which has been conducted to determine whether the seeds can bring negative side effects during pregnancy or not. Chia seeds that are grown commercially may bring issues of potential toxicity due to the use of herbicides and pesticides. Chia seeds may be exposed to such substances in several stages of their production, and it may be difficult to remove them.

However, considering that chia plant has high resistance to insects, it means fewer chemicals are used to treat the plant during its lifecycle. One way in which you can stay safe from such chemicals is to purchase the seeds, which are certified as organic. You may even want to grow your own chia seeds, but they will need rich soils, light, and abundant water as well as the sunshine to thrive well. However, given their tropical origin, it is most likely that they are unable to grow in some other climates.

chia seedsCurrently, these seeds are found in various grocery stores. You can easily find retailers who stock these seeds. What you may want to do is ensure you get the certified organic ones and that you take note of the side effects they may cause.

In case you have any condition, which may worsen when you take chia seeds, you might want to refrain from eating them. The benefits may be far beyond the side effects. Taking all the precautions and ensuring that you do not take an excess of these seeds may help you avoid their side effects.


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