An Open-Label Study on the Effect of FlaxSeed Powder (Linum usitatissimum) Supplementation in the Management of Diabetes Mellitus

January 1, 2011 Human Health and Nutrition Data 0 Comments

An Open-Label Study on the Effect of FlaxSeed Powder (Linum usitatissimum) Supplementation in the Management of Diabetes Mellitus

Year: 2011
Authors: Mani, U.V. Mani, I. Biswas, M. Kumar, S.N.
Publication Name: Journal o f Dietary Supplements
Publication Details: Volume 8; Number 3; Pages 257 – 265.


Diabetes mellitus is characterized by hyperglycemia and associated with aberrations in the metabolism of carbohydrate, protein, and lipid that result in development of secondary complications. Extensive studies have indicated that nutritional therapy plays a pivotal role in the controlling or postponing of development of these secondary complications. Several functional foods have been shown to possess hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic properties. Flaxseed (FS) is a functional food that is rich in omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants and is low in carbohydrates. In exploratory studies, FS was incorporated in recipes, which resulted in a reduction in the glycemic index of the food items. These observations prompted us to investigate the efficacy of FS supplementation in type 2 diabetics (n of 29). Subjects were assigned to the experimental (n of 18) or the control group (n of 11) on the basis of their desire to participate in the study. The experimental group�s diet was supplemented daily with 10 g of FS powder for a period of 1 month. The control group received no supplementation or placebo. During the study, diet and drug intake of the subjects remained unaltered. The efficacy of supplementation with FS was evaluated through a battery of clinico-biochemical parameters. Supplementation with FS reduced fasting blood glucose by 19.7% and glycated hemoglobin by 15.6%. A favorable reduction in total cholesterol (14.3%), triglycerides (17.5%), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (21.8%), and apolipoprotein B and an increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (11.9%) were also noticed. These observations suggest the therapeutic potential of FS in the management of diabetes mellitus. (Authors abstract)
The WHO reported that the prevalence of diabetes worldwide was 2.8% in 2000 and estimated that it will rise to 4.4% by 2030. The total number of people with diabetes is projected to go up from 171 million in 2000 to 366 million in 2030. Flaxseed (FS) is composed of 41% fat, 20% protein, 28% dietary fiber, 7.7% moisture, and 4% ash. The active components of FS are dietary fiber (cellulose, mucilage, gums, and lignin), phytochemicals, and omega 3 fatty acids. Some studies conducted during the past few years have shown that FS possesses hypoglycemic and hypolipemic properties and cause foods to have a lower glycemic index. This study assessed the effect of FS supplementation in type 2 diabetics.  The management of diabetes involves normalizing the levels of blood glucose, normalize carbohydrate metabolism, prevent and restore the integrity and functioning of β cells, enhance insulin-releasing activity, and improve glucose uptake and utilization. FS is rich in alpha linolenic acid, lignans, and soluble polysaccharides (gum) that each possesses biological activity. FS reduced blood glucose and HbA1c levels in diabetics. The consumption of 40g of ground FS for 2 months also reduced postprandial blood glucose, insulin, and serum lipid levels. This hypoglycemic activity could be attributed to the high dietary fiber content of FS. The gum in FS behaves like typical viscous fibers with the ability to reduce the blood glucose response which consequently lowers the glycemic index of foods with which it is ingested. In the present study, not only the atherogenic lipid indices, TC, and LDL-C were significantly decreased after FS supplementation, but also HDL-C levels were increased, indicating an improvement in lipid and lipoprotein profiles. Thus, incorporation of FS in the diet of patients with type 2 diabetes would help control hyperglycemia and dyslipidemia, which would eventually reduce the occurrence of secondary complications of diabetes. (Editors comments)

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