Flaxseed health benefits
November 27, 2011
 Benefits of Flaxseed Meal  Benefits of Flaxseed Oil

Reference [1] Prasad K. Flaxseed: a source of hypocholesterolemic and antiatherogenic agents. Drug News
Perspect. 2000 Mar;13(2):99-104. [2] Bloedon LT, Szapary PO. Flaxseed and cardiovascular risk. Nutr Rev. 2004
Jan;62(1):18-27. [3] Bhathena SJ, et al, Dietary flaxseed meal is more protective than soy protein concentrate against
hypertriglyceridemia and steatosis of the liver in an animal model of obesity. J Am Coll Nutr. 2003 Apr;22(2):157-64.
[4] Velasquez MT, et al, Dietary flaxseed meal reduces proteinuria and ameliorates nephropathy in an animal model of
type II diabetes mellitus. Kidney Int. 2003 Dec;64(6):2100-7. [5] Chen J, et al, Effects of flaxseed lignan and oil on
bone health of breast-tumor-bearing mice treated with or without tamoxifen. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2011
Jan;74(12):757-68. [6] Birkved FK, et al, Investigation into the cancer protective effect of flaxseed in Tg.NK
(MMTV/c-neu) mice, a murine mammary tumor model. Genes Nutr. 2011 Nov;6(4):403-11. [7] Lindahl G et al,
Tamoxifen, flaxseed, and the lignan enterolactone increase stroma- and cancer cell-derived IL-1Ra and decrease
tumor angiogenesis in estrogen-dependent breast cancer. Cancer Res. 2011 Jan 1;71(1):51-60. [8] Rodriguez-Leyva
D et al, The cardiovascular effects of flaxseed and its omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid. Can J Cardiol. 2010
Nov;26(9):489-96. [9] Fukumitsu S et al, Flaxseed lignan lowers blood cholesterol and decreases liver disease risk
factors in moderately hypercholesterolemic men. Nutr Res. 2010 Jul;30(7):441-6 [10] Peterson J et al, Dietary lignans:
physiology and potential for cardiovascular disease risk reduction. Nutr Rev. 2010 Oct;68(10):571-603. [11] Tülüce Y,
et al, Photoprotective effect of flax seed oil (Linum usitatissimum L.) against ultraviolet C-induced apoptosis and
oxidative stress in rats. Toxicol Ind Health. 2011 Jun 10. [12] Mueller RS , et al, Plasma and skin concentrations of
polyunsaturated fatty acids before and after supplementation with n-3 fatty acids in dogs with atopic dermatitis. Am J
Vet Res. 2005 May;66(5):868-73.
Discuss with your doctor before taking any alternative medicine. This article is for
reference only, it is not a medical advice. All rights reserved. Do not copy this article to
other website or blog.
It is amazing that there is a wide variety of flax-based products- snack bars, pancakes, cereals, muffins and trail mix in a popular grocery store.
Flaxseed is added as a topping to cereals, salads or yogurt. The seed is ground up and added to muffins and breads. Some people even looked
for recipe for flaxseed meals in that grocery store. Flaxseed is known because of its potential health benefits on diabetes and some other diseases.
Flaxseed's outer hull is difficult to digest, some people chew flaxseed well or simply take flaxseed supplements.

Flaxseed Composition
Flaxseed contains 32-45% of its mass as oil, of which 51-55% is alpha-linolenic acid (n-3 fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids). Flaxseed meal was found
to be more beneficial on some chronic conditions such as high triglycerides and liver steatosis than soy protein meal, in a study of rats. [3]
Researchers from George Washington University Medical Center randomly assigned male SHR/N-cp rats to diets either 20% casein, 20% soy
protein concentrate, or 20% flaxseed meal for 6 months. They found, plasma insulin concentration was significantly lower in rats fed flaxseed meal
than those fed either casein or soy protein concentrate. [4]
Flaxseed Health Benefits

Studies showed that flaxseed lignan (secoisolariciresinol diglucoside) and oil inhibit established breast tumor growth in
athymic mice with or without tamoxifen treatment. [5] Further, in a murine mammary tumor model, an incidence of
palpable tumors before sacrifice, a number of tumors per mouse, and a number of large tumors (>6 mm diameter) at
necropsy were statistically significantly lower in the high flaxseed group compared to controls, suggesting a beneficial
effect on tumor progression of small dietary doses of flaxseed. [6] In another aspect, the proinflammatory cytokines IL-
1α and IL-1β promote tumor angiogenesis that might be counteracted by the IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra),
anakinra, a clinically approved agent. It was found that tumors treated with tamoxifen and fed flaxseed (Flax) or
enterolactone ENL exhibited decreased in vivo release of IL-1β derived from the murine stroma and decreased
microvessel density. [7] Further, tamoxifen, flaxseed, and ENL increased IL-1Ra levels significantly. Thus, flaxseed may
have benefits of people at risk of certain cancers.

Cardiovascular Events
Preventing the occurrence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) with nutritional interventions is an unique therapeutic
strategy. The increased use of omega fatty acids is a powerful example of one such nutritional strategy that may
produce significant cardiovascular benefits. Marine food products have provided the traditional dietary sources of
omega fatty acids. Flaxseed is an alternative to marine products. It is one of the richest sources of the plant-based
omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Based on the results of clinical trials, epidemiological investigations and
experimental studies, ingestion of ALA has been suggested to have a positive impact on CVD. Because of its high ALA
content, the use of flaxseed has been advocated to combat CVD. [8]

In October 2010, researchers from Tufts University reported that five intervention studies using flaxseed lignan
supplements indicated beneficial associations with C-reactive protein, and a meta-analysis that included these studies
also suggested lignans have a lowering effect on plasma total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Three
intervention studies using sesamin supplements indicated possible lipid- and blood pressure-lowering associations.
Eleven human observational epidemiological studies examined dietary intakes of lignans in relation to cardiovascular
disease risk. Five showed decreased risk with either increasing dietary intakes of lignans or increased levels of serum
enterolactone (an enterolignan used as a biomarker of lignan intake), five studies were of borderline significance, and
one was null. [10]

Flaxseed show benefits to people with high cholesterol levels. Clinical have shown that flaxseed can modestly reduce
serum total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations, reduce postprandial glucose absorption, and
decrease some markers of inflammation. [2] Clinical studies have further shown that intake of flaxseed or
secoisolariciresinol diglucoside isolated from defatted flaxseeds was associated with lowered serum total cholesterol
and LDL-cholesterol, while flaxseed oil alone in human subjects had no effects on the lipid profiles. [1]
Secoisolariciresinol diglucoside is an important ingredient for flaxseed's lipid-lowering effect.

Liver Disease
Flaxseed lignan (secoisolariciresinol diglucoside [SDG]) intake attenuated high-fat, diet-induced hypercholesterolemia
in mice. In moderately hypercholesterolemic men, oral administration of SDG (20 or 100 mg) decreased the level of
blood cholesterol and liver disease risk factors induced by hypercholesterolemia. [9]

Skin - Dermatitis
Dogs received supplemental flaxseed oil (200 mg/kg/d), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; 50 mg/kg/d)-docosahexaenoic
acid (DHA; 35 mg/kg/d), or mineral oil. Total plasma concentrations of alpha-LLA and EPA increased and those of
arachidonic acid decreased significantly with administration of EPA-DHA, and concentrations of alpha-LLA increased
with flaxseed oil supplementation; nevertheless, there was no significant change in the concentrations of these fatty
acids or eicosanoids in the skin. Results indicated that at the dose used, neither the concentrations of fatty acids in
skin or plasma nor a decrease in the production of inflammatory eicosanoids was a major factor involved in the
mechanism of action in dogs with atopy that responded to fatty acid supplementation. [12]

Skin - UV Damage
Ultraviolet C exposure led to oxidative stress and apoptosis in rats as reflected by increased malondialdehyde, protein
carbonyl contents and decreased enzymatic and nonenzymatic antioxidant levels, flaxseed oil may be useful for
preventing photoreactive damage. [11]