Study: “Flaxseed Induced One Of The Most Potent Antihypertensive Effects Achieved By A Dietary Intervention”

flaxseedsYou have to see this. Just 4 tablespoons of ground flax seed a day lowered their blood pressure as good as drugs. The top number (systolic) went down by 10 to 15 points, the bottom (diastolic) down by 7 points:

Potent Antihypertensive Action of Dietary Flaxseed in Hypertensive Patients, Hypertension, December 2013

It was a very good, gold-standard study:

In this prospective, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized trial, patients (110 in total) ingested a variety of foods that contained 30 g of milled flaxseed or placebo each day over 6 months.

Results:

SBP was ≈10 mm Hg lower, and DBP was ≈7 mm Hg lower in the flaxseed group compared with placebo after 6 months. Patients who entered the trial with a SBP ≥140 mm Hg at baseline obtained a significant reduction of 15 mm Hg in SBP and 7 mm Hg in DBP from flaxseed ingestion.

It wasn’t because the flaxseed caused weight loss:

Patient body weights were not significantly different between the 2 groups at any time.

Conclusion:

In summary, flaxseed induced one of the most potent antihypertensive effects achieved by a dietary intervention.

Look at this drop. You can see a significant drop after just one month:

Figure 4. Mean systolic and diastolic blood pressure among hypertensive patients (BP ≥140/90 mm Hg) on flaxseed (FX) at baseline, 1 month, and 6 months. *P=0.04 baseline vs 1 month; †P=0.002 baseline vs 6 months; ‡P=0.01 baseline vs 1 month; §P=0.003 baseline vs 6 months. PL indicates placebo.

Notes:

  • One tablespoon of ground flaxseed weighs about 7 grams, so 30 grams is about 4 tablespoons. That’s about 1/4 cup ground.
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure is anything over 140/90 mm Hg. A good goal is to get that top number down to 120 or below.
  • “The dietary factors that influence blood pressure (BP) have traditionally included Na+, K+, caloric content, caffeine, and alcohol.” They all raise BP except for K+ (potassium) which lowers it.
  • “Compliance was carefully monitored through plasma ALA and enterolignan levels.”
  • “A reduction of 7 mm Hg in DBP would be expected to result in a 46% and 29% decrease in the incidence of stroke and coronary heart disease, respectively. A 10 mm Hg decrease in SBP would result in a 36% and 27% decrease in the incidence of stroke and myocardial infarctions, respectively.”
  • “The magnitude of this decrease in BP demonstrated by dietary flaxseed, therefore, is as good or better than other nutritional intervention and comparable to many drugs.”
  • “Patients with BP values in the normal range did not appear to respond to flaxseed with a decrease in BP, which may be dangerous.” You don’t want healthy people fainting just because they eat flaxseed.
  • “Four components within flaxseed may be responsible for the changes in BP: ALA, lignans, fiber, peptides, or a synergistic action of all 4 components together.” ALA is an omega-3 fatty acid.

3 thoughts on “Study: “Flaxseed Induced One Of The Most Potent Antihypertensive Effects Achieved By A Dietary Intervention”

  1. Melinda

    What about the issue of rancidity you mentioned in another post? Will the anti-hypertensive effect still be there? It does sound like a great study!

    Reply
    1. Bix Post author

      I wouldn’t eat it if it was rancid.

      I think they actually cooked with it, muffins and such. I just sprinkle it raw over things. There’s no way I get 1/4 cup, maybe a few teaspoons.

      Reply
  2. Bix Post author

    I’ve noticed…. People seem much more concerned about their blood values, micromanaging their blood glucose and cholesterol. But blood pressure takes a back burner. Why do you think?

    You know what sends up blood pressure? Alcohol. It really does. Maybe people are more willing to change their diet than to cut back on alcohol?

    When your blood pressure is high, your risk for stroke soars. Many strokes occur in the hours after drinking.

    Reply

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