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Chia seeds are also known as "Indian running food" given that peripatetic Maya messengers would always have a small purse full of these tiny pinhead-sized seeds which they consumed to boost their energy levels whenever an urgent message had to be quickly delivered, running.
The goodness of chia seeds were reaped even back then. Even the Mesoamerican Aztecs learned to harvest chia from their ancestors - the Toltecs - and made chia seeds a part and parcel of their dietary habits and lifestyle. Not only did they grind the seeds to make flour out of the chia grains and had a solution of craunched chia and water but also consumed whole chia seeds in a motley of other grains. Moreover, they made medicinal drugs from chia and derived oil from these seeds (chia seeds contain 34% oil) to make the base of their facial paint with it.

A member of the mint family scientifically called Salvia hispanica L., chia seeds are one of the best sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids as well as the omega-6 and omega-9 varieties of fatty acids. Also called 'chia fresca' in Mexican and 'pashi' in native American, researches on these seeds have shown their potency in shielding humans against clogging of arterial walls and other cardiovascular threats. It is also known for its actions to diminish the influence of the triglycerides and bad cholesterol levels, boosting the activity of the good HDL cholesterol. But even these seeds may have adverse effects on your health, given certain conditions. Let us see some of the negative effects of chia seeds.

Previous observation and limited study has enabled some experts to note some chia seed adverse effects.

  • A few people have complained about gastrointestinal disruptions, such as formation of gas and bloated feeling after ingesting chia seeds. The American Dietetic Association attributes this to chia's high fiber content (25%).
  • Chia seeds and its constituents do act as allergens in case of certain individuals, as also pointed out by the European Food Safety Authority. Some people break into reactions after coming into contact with chia protein. Such people are advised to keep away from the seeds. Also, it is better if you check for mustard and mustard seed allergies and keep away from chia seeds even in that case.
  • Homer Hartage, Chief of Nuchia Foods Corporation says, "Because chia seeds contain omega-3s, which can thin the blood, if you are taking blood thinners, planning surgery or on an aspirin regimen, it is recommended that you consult a doctor prior to use." This effectively means that even hemophiliacs should keep away from chia seeds.
  • The Netherlands' Wageningen Center for Food Sciences conducted a research in 2004 and concluded that chia seeds increase the threat of prostatic cancer in men.
  • A research done by the St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, Canada has indicated that chia seeds are potentially capable of lowering diastolic blood pressure to alarming levels. So, low blood pressure patients should steer clear of it.
  • Chia should be consumed in short phases followed by break periods as some cases have shown people getting addicted to it.
  • Pregnant and lactating mothers should keep away from chia seeds as not enough researches have been conducted to check for its effects on them.
  • A super storehouse of vitamin B17, consumption of chia seeds and B17 supplements during the same time period may lead to a phytonutrient overdose.

These are some possible chia seed side effects that one may have to worry about. However, if you stick to the dosage recommended for chia seeds, you may be able to avert them. Stick to the following dosages after verifying with your doctor.

Adult: 15 grams (2 tbsp.) of chia seeds daily.
For cardiovascular shielding: 33 to 41 grams of blended chia seeds for 3 months daily.
Minors (5 to 18 years): 1.4 to 4.3 grams of chia seeds daily. Ideally, 1 tablespoon for children below 10.

Organic chia seeds are usually magnificent storehouses of antioxidants, proteins, fibers, and various flavonoids. They have been given the recognition of being a food item by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of USA and has also definitively been given the stamp that it has no poisonous tendencies at all. Even the American Heart Association (AHA) has proclaimed in public interest that coronary heart patients should ingest chia seeds daily, and this has been seconded by a University of Toronto study. But in spite of all this, fact remains that not enough studies have been conducted on these tiny, oval, mottled seeds and, therefore, both the benefits and side effects of these seeds are yet to be fully known.

Chia seed health benefits are truly many in number and can be reaped optimally if these seeds are taken with care. A little discretion has to be practiced. Never consume any natural product without the guidance of a doctor. The advice doesn't change for chia seeds as well. If you happen to be taking medicinal drugs for cancer, blood thinning, blood pressure or may be on other supplements, take special care and DO NOT take chia seeds without proper medical advise. Some people may also be allergic to chia seeds, owing to its high protein content. Allergic reactions usually include watery eyes, diarrhea, and/or skin eruptions. Consult a doctor immediately if you notice any of these symptoms after consuming chia seeds. These seeds will only help your health conditions if you do not play with dosages and make an effort to keep chia seed side effects at bay.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for professional medical advice.