News: Flaxseed reduces total/LDL cholesterol levels in postmenopause

July 1, 2008

Three months of dietary supplementation with flaxseed lowered total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels.

Three months of dietary supplementation with flaxseed, 30 g/d, lowered the total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels of Native American postmenopausal women by approximately 7% and 10%, respectively.

Researchers from Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Florida included 55 mildly to moderately hypercholesterolemic (≥5.1 to ≤9.8 mmol/L) Native American postmenopausal women in the study. The flaxseed provided was incorporated into baking products, such as breads and muffins, rather than consumed as a whole ground food, on the belief that the cholesterol lowering effects of flaxseed are enhanced by the high temperatures associated with baking.

No statistically significant changes in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or triglyceride levels occurred; however, triglyceride concentrations in the flaxseed group increased insignificantly, suggesting that the n-3 fatty acid in flaxseed, unlike that of fish oil, is ineffective in lowering triglyceride levels. Flaxseed also lowered Lp(a), an independent predictor of atherosclerosis, by 22%, although the mean values did not reach statistical significance. Flaxseed had no effect on hematologic parameters, such as white or red blood cell counts or hemoglobin concentrations, but it did increase monocyte percentage, which theoretically leads to greater uptake of cholesterol from plasma and more plaque formation. And it had no effect on serum levels of C-reactive protein or on estrogen or FSH levels.

Patade A, Devareddy L, Lucas EA, et al. Flaxseed reduces total and LDL cholesterol concentrations in Native American postmenopausal women. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2008;17:355-366.