Written by Luc Geeraert and the CAM-Cancer Consortium.
Updated February 8, 2017

Budwig diet

Is it safe?

Plant-based foods contain only minimal amounts of Vitamin B12. An ovo-lacto-vegetarian diet includes eggs and cheese, two important sources of Vitamin B12, although these foods cannot meet a greater need. Since a vegetarian diet is rich in folates, the effects of Vitamin B12 deficiency can often be masked until neurological symptoms manifest 14. For this reason, those who pursue a vegetarian diet or another kind of diet such as Budwig should make sure they take Vitamin B12 supplements to ensure an adequate supply 15.

Adverse events

The hull of flaxseed contains a mucilage that binds water in the intestines, expands and has a laxative effect. As a result, adequate hydration is necessary.

Flaxseed contains cyanogenic glycosides which can release hydrocyanic acid after hydrolysis in the intestine. When flaxseed is consumed in normal quantities, the resorbed quantity of hydrocyanic acid is not considered to pose a threat 16,17.

Allergies to components found in flaxseed have been reported but are very rare 18.


Flaxseed is contraindicated in patients with ileus or stenoses in the gastrointestinal tract.


Flaxseed can absorb orally administered medication and thus have an impact on its efficacy. Consequently, flaxseed (not flaxseed oil) should only be taken a few hours before or after taking medication by mouth to prevent decreased absorption. 7


Current knowledge indicates there is a positive correlation between the energy density of a diet and body weight, which means that a high-protein diet can lead to obesity. Medical societies recommend that weight-control measures take into account the protein content of the diet.

Citation Luc Geeraert, CAM-Cancer Consortium. Budwig diet [online document]. http://ws.cam-cancer.org/The-Summaries/Dietary-approaches/Budwig-diet. February 8, 2017.


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  9. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: What the Science Says [online document], https://nccih.nih.gov/health/providers/digest/omega3s-science, accessed 8 February 2017
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  13. Budwig-videos.com [Website]. Available from: http://www.budwig-videos.com , accessed 8 February 2017.
  14. Craig WJ. Nutrition concerns and health effects of vegetarian diets. Nutr Clin Pract 2010;25(6):613-20.
  15. Vegan Society: What Every Vegan Should Know About Vitamin B12. http://www.vegansociety.com/resources/nutrition-and-health/vitamins-minerals-and-nutrients/vitamin-b12-your-key-facts, accessed 8 February 2017.
  16. Barthet VJ, Bacala R. Development of optimized extraction methodology for cyanogenic glycosides from flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum). J AOAC Int 2010;93(2):478-84.
  17. Yang QY, Song L, Zhang JF, Shen ZF, Liu Q, Liu SN, Zheng WS, Yao CS. Cyanogenetic glycosides and simple glycosides from the linseed meal.Fitoterapia. 2015 Oct;106:78-83.
  18. Fremont S, Moneret-Vautrin DA, Franck P, Morisset M, Croizier A, Codreanu F, Kanny G. Prospective study of sensitization and food allergy to flaxseed in 1317 subjects. Eur Ann Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010;42(3):103-11.
  19. Bechthold A. Food energy density and body weight. A scientific statement from the DGE. Ernahrungs Umschau 2014: 61(1): 2–11. (Online available: DOI 10.4455/eu.2014.002)