Study finds flax helps lower cholesterol in men, but not women

March 30, 2010 in Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

Study finds flax helps lower cholesterol in men, but not women
Need another reason to add flaxseeds to your diet?  Well known for their soluble fibre and omega-3 fatty acid content, new study findings from researchers at Iowa State University now suggest that adding a daily dose of flaxseed to the diet can help lower cholesterol levels in men, but not women.

To investigate the effect that flaxseeds have on cholesterol levels, researchers divided 90 men and women, all with high cholesterol, into three groups.  They were then randomly assigned to consume a daily tablet that contained zero, 150 or 300 mg of flaxseed lignans, a type of phytochemical, for twelve weeks.

After the twelve-week study period, researchers found that the men who consumed at least 150 mg of flaxseeds lignans per day, or about three tablespoons worth, experienced a 10 percent drop in cholesterol levels.  

While the decreased level of cholesterol seen in the study is less than the effect from most cholesterol lowering drugs, which can result in a 10 to 20 percent reduction over three months, the effect from flaxseeds is enough to make it a natural option for lowering cholesterol in some men.

Interestingly, while the researchers found that the flaxseed lignans lowered cholesterol in men, it did not produce a significant change in women.

Since the flaxseeds tablets used in the study aren't currently available for purchase, researchers suggest using ground flaxseed for a similar effect.  Grinding flaxseeds breaks up their hard shell, which means their nutrients are more readily absorbed by the body.   Their nutty flavour makes them a welcome addition to cereal, muffins and breads.  Looking for more ways to add flaxseeds to your diet?  Click here, or check out Leslie Beck's Foods that Fight Disease.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.