Heart disease continues to be a leading cause of death in the United States despite increases in risk factor management and treatment improvement. Heart disease can many times be prevented or improved when people make healthy choices. Unfortunately, traditional medicine takes a very myopic approach to cardiovascular disease and risk factors. In addition, these patients are not told that they can change the trajectory of their health concerns with diet, lifestyle, and nutritional therapeutics.

According to a new review published this month in Clinical Cardiology, researchers investigated the effects of flaxseed supplementation on anthropometric, glycemic, lipid, and inflammatory markers in patients with coronary artery disease.

This meta-analysis included 309 participants among six randomized controlled trials published between 2017 and 2022. The duration of the studies ranged between 10 and 24 weeks with a dose of flaxseed supplementation ranging between 1 gram up to 30 grams daily. There were studies with 1 gram, 2 grams, 5 grams, and 30 grams. The results did not demonstrate significant changes among lipid factors including LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol as well as body weight or body mass index (BMI) following flaxseed supplementation. However, flaxseed supplementation did show a significant decrease in triglyceride, fasting glucose, and hs‐CRP levels.

Flaxseeds contain ALA, a polyunsaturated fatty acid, which is recognized to have anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, the significant amount of fiber present in flaxseeds contribute to its ability to protect against inflammation.

Other nutrients to consider for overall heart health include coenzyme Q10, magnesium, fish oil, vitamin D, and delta and gamma tocotrienol isomers.

It is important to take a comprehensive approach to assessing the cardiovascular system. Health care providers have many tools today to assess cardiovascular health and support the body’s physiology. It is essential to perform a thorough assessment for these patients. This may include looking at an advanced lipid profile (ie. LipoFraction NMR Profile with lipids), chronic inflammatory markers (ferritin, hs-CRP, OxLDL), nutrient markers (magnesium, potassium, selenium, copper, folate, B12, B6, zinc, and calcium), fat soluble vitamins (CoQ10, vitamin D, vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitmain E), oxidative stress factors (homocysteine, insulin, and lipid peroxidases), heavy metals, and a fatty acid profiles. Many of these nutrients play a synergist role with one another and it is important to adequate levels for optimal function.

Source: Sabet HR, Ahmadi M, et al. Effects of flaxseed supplementation on weight loss, lipid profiles, glucose, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein in patients with coronary artery disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clin Cardiol. 2024 Jan;47(1):e24211.





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