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Flaxseed intake and cholesterol

Flaxseed intake and cholesterol

Ground flaxseed is one of the most beneficial supplements for a heart-healthy diet. In 5000 years, this wonderful little seed played a very important role in human history. Flax is native to the Mediterranean region, not only can be used as food but its fiber can also be woven into linen.

The most valuable at present is its ability to reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancer. A new study by the Canadian Agri-Food Research Center emphasizes another important role in promoting cardiovascular health.


Background Overview:

The main health benefits of flaxseed are its rich oil content and the fiber component called lignans. The content of omega-3 fatty acids in linseed oil is nearly twice that of fish oil, but it contains shorter-chain α-linolenic acid instead of the long-chain fatty acids found in fish oil, such as EPA and DHA.

Flaxseed is the most abundant source of lignans. These components are fiber complexes that can bind to estrogen receptors, which can hinder the cancer-promoting effects of estrogen on breast and prostate tissue. Lignans can also increase the production of a complex called sex hormone-binding globulin or SHBG.

This protein can excrete excess estrogen from the body, thereby regulating estrogen levels. Ground flaxseed and purified lignan dietary supplements (300 mg per day) can also reduce blood LDL cholesterol levels. Taking ground flaxseed can lower blood pressure.

In a double-blind study conducted at the Saint Bonnie Hospital Research Center in Winnipeg, Canada, taking 30 grams of ground flaxseed daily reduced the systolic blood pressure of hypertensive patients by an average of 15 mmHg and the diastolic blood pressure by an average of 7 mmHg. column.

New data:

The study aims to evaluate the impact of dietary flaxseed on plasma cholesterol in a population of patients clinically diagnosed with the peripheral arterial disease (PAD), including many patients taking statins to lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. The patient (110) consumed a daily meal containing 30 grams of ground flaxseed or 30 grams of whole wheat for a year. Blood lipids were measured at 0, 1, 6, and 12 months.

Within one month of the trial, the consumption of flaxseed reduced circulating low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in these PAD patients by 15%. But for all patients, the curative effect after one year is not yet statistically significant.

Interestingly, in the subgroup of patients taking flaxseed and statins (n ​​= 36), the LDL cholesterol concentration decreased by 8.5% compared to baseline after 12 months. This result shows that when taken with statins, consumption of flaxseed can provide additional low-density lipoprotein cholesterol-lowering ability.


The conclusion drawn from the research is that simple dietary supplements can produce significant health benefits. Most beneficial research has focused on the use of ground flaxseed because this form is easier to release beneficial compounds than edible whole seeds.

When buying ground flaxseeds, it is strongly recommended that you buy flaxseeds that are vacuum-sealed or refrigerated after grinding, because ground flaxseeds are more susceptible to oxidation and deterioration. Here are some simple ways to eat:

  • Sprinkle ground flax seeds on hot or cold cereal.
  • Add ground flaxseed to breakfast drinks.
  • Mix in yogurt.
  • Sprinkle ground flax seeds on cooked vegetables to add a nutty taste.


Edel AL, Rodriguez-Leyva D, Maddaford TG, et al. Dietary flaxseed independently lowers circulating cholesterol and lowers it beyond the effects of cholesterol-lowering medications alone in patients with peripheral artery disease. J Nutr. 2015 Apr;145(4): 749-57.

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