Effect of Consumption of Ground Wholeseed Flax on Human Blood Traits

  •  Harbans Bhardwaj    
  •  Anwar Hamama    
  •  Satya Narina    
  •  John Parry    


Oilseed flax (Linum usitatssimum L.) has been recognized as a functional food in recent times. Functional foods deliver a health boost beyond what is expected from their traditional nutrient content. Flax fits this description perfectly because it is rich in omega-3 fatty acid and phytochemicals. Flax also provides dietary fiber and protein. We conducted an experiment in which ground wholeseed flax was consumed by 26 volunteers during 2009. A blood sample before start of consumption and one after completion of the experiment was collected and analyzed for various blood traits. Results indicated that consumption of wholeseed flax significantly increased carbon dioxide (24.23 vs. 23.03 mmol/L), lowered total serum protein (7.17 vs. 7.02 d/dl) and total Globulin (2.99 vs. 2.78g/dl) in the blood. Flax consumption did not affect overall cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations in human blood. However, comparisons of groups of study volunteers based on three categories: those whose blood traits remained unchanged, those whose blood profile values increased upon wholeseed flax consumption, and those whose blood profile values decreased upon wholeseed flax consumption revealed that consumption of 45g of wholeseed flax daily for twelve weeks decreased the concentration of total cholesterol in 9 females and 5 males, increased the concentration 5 females and 1 male, and did not affect the concentration in 2 females and 4 males. Flax consumption decreased the concentration of triglycerides in 9 females and 4 males, increased the concentration in 6 females and 4 male, and did not affect the concentration in 1 female and 2 males. These results point to the possibility that consumption of wholeseed ground flax may be helpful in reducing total cholesterol and triglycerides in females as compared to males. It was also observed that changes in concentrations of total cholesterol and triglycerides were influenced by each other – in 9 subjects concentrations of both traits were reduced, increased in 4 subjects, and remained the same in 2 subjects. We speculated that consumption of wholeseed flax for reduction of cholesterol and triglycerides in human blood may be considerably influenced by heredity.

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