Potential Therapeutic Benefits of Flaxseeds in the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

Project: Research project

Project Details


Potential Therapeutic Benefits of Flaxseeds in the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms Potential Therapeutic Benefits of Flaxseeds in the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms Research Grant Focus: Potential therapeutic benefits of flaxseeds in the treatment of type 2 diabetes symptoms. Project Proposal: This proposal is designed to compare the effectiveness of flaxseed meal versus psyllium fiber at improving vascular health and glycemic control in adults with T2D. Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is independently associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases (CVD) (1) that is primarily due to the early development of advanced atherosclerotic vascular changes (2). The mechanisms underlying the association of T2D with vascular dysfunction are considered to be complex. Classical cardiovascular risk factors (hypertension, dyslipidemia and smoking) may play a role, while diabetes-related parameters such as hyperglycemia, insulin resistance. Obesity, and other associated emerging risk factors such as inflammation, may also contribute to the impairment of arterial function in T2D. The relative importance of these risk factors in the induction of vascular dysfunction in T2D patients has not been well studied. Prolonged hyperglycemia, elevated blood glucose, is the hallmark of diabetes and results in the glycosylation of hemoglobin molecules (HbA1c), elevations of which can be used as biomarkers of glycemic control over the prior 2-3 months. This leads to oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which contribute to the development of renal failure, blindness, and cardiovascular disease (3). Oxidative stress may also contribute to hypertension by reducing the bioavailability of the vasodilator nitric oxide, resulting in impaired endothelium-dependent vasodilation, which can be reversed with antioxidants (4). Along with lipid abnormalities characterized by high triglyceride concentrations, low high density lipoprotein-cholesterol concentrations, and normal total and low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL) concentrations. Small and dense LDL particles, however, are small and dense are frequently observed in T2D. Most of the lipid abnormalities in T2D can be explained by reduced action of insulin at the tissue level (5).Previous research has established a link between high levels of LDL and CVD. More recently, research has found abnormal LDL:HDL is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The cardioprotective effects of HDL are attributed to its role in reverse cholesterol transport, effects on endothelial cells, and its antioxidant activity. HDL is an autonomous protective factor for the endothelium through activation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) resulting in NO release, and vasorelaxation (6,7). Although some clinical trials suggest a benefit of raising HDL-C to reduce risk, further studies are needed since HDL is still not considered a primary target of therapy in the National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines. Studies have shown that individuals who consume mainly plant-based diets which are high in fibers such as psyllium and beta-glucan have decreased oxidative stress and inflammation along with improved lipoprotein profiles (8). While research has focused on the health benefits of plant-based fibers such as psyllium fiber, at reducing symptoms of T2D and cardiovascular disease, to our knowledge, no studies have examined the potential therapeutic benefits of flaxseed-derived supplementation in the control of T2D in regards to endothelial function and inflammation. Moreover, a comparison of flaxseed-derived fibers versus pysllium-based fibers on diabetic complications, including cardiovascular disease, has not been performed. The majority of studies on flaxseeds have focused on the effects of the oil, which even at high doses (10g/day) reportedly has no impact on blood glucose, HbA1c, insulin concentrations or lipid profiles (9). In contrast, a recent study concluded that daily supplementation of ground flaxseeds (10g/day) in adults with T2D for just one month significantly reduced fasting blood glucose by 19.7%, HbA1c by 15.6%, in addition to improvements in lipid regulation (10). Moreover, recent research has indicated that 40 g/d of flaxseed meal lead to significant improvements in lipid profiles in adult males with hypercholesterolemia (11). The results of this study are expected to have a broad impact by contributing to the understanding of how flaxseed supplementation may improve vascular health in diabetes. It is anticipated that the results will be published in peer-reviewed journals and used to apply for external funding. Through press releases, information learned in this study will also be broadly disseminated to the general public where it may directly benefit those individuals suffering from diabetes.
Effective start/end date1/1/146/30/15


  • INDUSTRY: Domestic Company: $5,000.00


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