Simple Health Exercises

Benefits of Flaxseeds for Inflammation

"Benefits of Flax Seeds for Inflammation" Previously, I’ve explored the
potent antihypertensive effect of dietary flaxseed in
hypertensive patients. This was a double-blind, randomized,
placebo-controlled trial where they disguised ground
flaxseed in baked goods, versus like flax- free placebo muffins, and got an extraordinary
drop in high blood pressures. As you can imagine, the
flaxseed industry was overjoyed, praising the impressive findings, as was I. After all, high blood pressure
is the single largest risk factor for death on the planet earth. Yes, we give people medications, lots and lots of medications,
but most people don’t take them, as in 9 out of 10 people
take less than 80 percent of their prescribed blood pressure pills. Just 8 percent. It’s not difficult to understand why.
Patients are asked to follow an inconvenient and
potentially costly regimen, which will likely have a
detrimental effect on their health-related quality of life to
treat a mostly asymptomatic condition; so, they may feel worse instead of
better, due to the side effects.

The answer, then, is to give
them more drugs to counteract the effects of the first drugs,
like giving men Viagra to counter the erectile dysfunction caused
by their blood pressure pills. How about using a
dietary strategy instead, especially if it can be just as effective? And indeed, the drop in blood
pressures they got in the flaxseed study was greater than the
average decrease observed with the standard dose of
anti-hypertensive drugs. And, flaxseeds are cheaper too,
compared to even a single medication; and most patients are on multiple drugs. And has good side effects beyond
their anti-hypertensive actions, but not all good… Taking tablespoons of flaxseed a
day is a lot of fiber for people who have been living off of
cheeseburgers and milkshakes their whole lives, and
it can take a little while for your gut bacteria to
adjust to the new bounty. So, people who start
out with low-fiber diets may want to take it slow at first. Not all studies have shown significant
blood pressure-lowering effects. There have been over a dozen trials by now involving more
than a thousand subjects.

And yes, put them all together and
overall there were significant reductions in both systolic and
diastolic blood pressures— the upper and lower numbers— following supplementation
with various flaxseed products. None were as dramatic
as that six-month trial. The longer trials tended
to show better results, and some of the trials just used flaxseed
oil or some kind of flaxseed extract. The thought is that the whole is
greater than the sum of its parts. Each of the components of
interest within flaxseed, the omega-3’s, the cancer-fighting
lignans, all the soluble fiber and plant proteins, all contribute
toward the blood pressure reduction. OK, but how? Why?
What’s the mechanism? Some common blood-pressure
medications like Norvasc or Procardia work by reducing the ability of the heart
to contract, or slowing the heart down; and so, it’s possible that’s
how flaxseeds works too. But no. Dietary flaxseed reduces blood pressure
without cardiac involvement but rather through changes
in plasma oxylipins.

What are oxylipins? Oxylipins are a group of fatty acid
metabolites involved in inflammation, and as a result, have been
implicated in many pro-inflammatory conditions including cardiovascular
disease and aging. The best characterized oxylipins
in relation to cardiovascular disease are derived from the long chain omega-
6 fatty acid known as arachidonic acid, found preformed in animal products,
particularly chicken and eggs, and can be made inside
the body from junky omega-6 rich oils, such as cottonseed oil. But, elevated levels of pro-inflammatory
oxylipins in older subjects are normalized by
flaxseed consumption. See that’s how we think flaxseed
consumption reduces blood pressure in patients with hypertension:
by inhibiting the enzyme that makes these pro-
inflammatory oxylipins. I’ll spare you from the
acronym overload, but basically, eating flaxseeds inhibits
the activity of the enzyme that makes these pro-inflammatory
oxylipins, called leukotoxin diols, which in turn may lower blood pressure. Identifying the molecular
mechanisms adds confidence to the antihypertensive
actions of dietary flaxseed, but that’s not all oxylipins do. Oxylipins may play a
role in the aging process.

But we may be able to beneficially
disrupt these biological changes associated with inflammation and aging with a nutritional
intervention like flaxseed. Older adults (around age 50) have
higher levels of these arachidonic acid-derived oxylipin compared
to younger adults (around age 20). These elevated concentrations
of pro-inflammatory oxylipins in the older age group may
help explain the higher levels of inflammation in older
versus younger individuals.

As we get older, we’re
more likely to be stricken with inflammatory conditions like arthritis; and so, this elevation of pro-
inflammatory oxylipins may pre-dispose individuals to chronic disease conditions. But what if you took these older
adults and gave them muffins— ground flaxseed-containing muffins? Four weeks later their
levels dropped to here, down to like 20-year-old levels,
demonstrating that a potential therapeutic strategy to
correct the deleterious pro-inflammatory oxylipin profile is via a dietary supplementation with flax..

As found on YouTube

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