Flaxseed may help lower high cholesterol in men, a new study has found.
Suzanne Hendrich, an Iowa State University professor in food science and human nutrition, led a study that examined the effects of flaxseed lignan in 90 people diagnosed with high cholesterol. The results showed that consuming at least 150 milligrams of flaxseed lignans per day (about three tablespoons) decreased cholesterol in men, but not women, by just under 10 percent over the three months that they were given the flaxseed.
While Hendrich admits that's considerably less than the expected outcome from cholesterol-lowering drugs-approximately 10 to 20 percent for three months, depending on the individual-it's still enough to make flaxseed a more natural option for some men.
"Because there are people who can't take something like Lipitor, this could at least give you some of that cholesterol-lowering benefit," Hendrich said. "The other thing is, there are certainly some people who would prefer to not use a drug, but rather use foods to try to maintain their health. So this potentially would be something to consider."
Hendrich developed the study with ISU master's student Kai Ling Kong and doctoral graduates Zhong Ye, Xianai Wu, and Sun-Ok Lee to determine whether the main lignan in flaxseed, secoisolariciresinol diglucoside, could lower cholesterol.
They'll be presenting results of the research at the American Society for Nutrition's annual meeting at Experimental Biology 2010, April 24-28, in Anaheim, Calif.