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High α-linolenic acid flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum):some nutritional properties in humans

  • Stephen C. Cunnane (a1), Sujata Ganguli (a1), Chantale Menard (a1), Andrea C. Liede (a1), Mazen J. Hamadeh (a1), Zhen-Yu Chen (a1), Thomas M. S. Wolever (a1) and David J. A. Jenkins (a1)...
Abstract

Although high α-linolenic acid flaxseed (Linum usitatissitmum) is one of the richest dietary sources of α- linolenic acid and is also a good source of soluble fibre mucilage, it is relatively unstudied in human nutrition. Healthy female volunteers consumed 50 g ground, raw flaxseed/d for 4 weeks which provided 12–13% of energy intake (24–25 g/100 g total fat). Flaxseed raised α-linolenic acid and long-chain n-3 fatty acids in both plasma and erythrocyte lipids, as well as raising urinary thiocyanate excretion 2.2- fold. Flaxseed also lowered serum total cholesterol by 9 % and low-density-lipoprotein-cholesterol by 18%. Changes in plasma α-linolenic acid were equivalent when 12 g α-linolenic acid/d was provided as raw flaxseed flour (50 g/d) or flaxseed oil (20 g/d) suggesting high bioavailability of α-linolenic acid from ground flaxseed. Test meals containing 50 g carbohydrate from flaxseed or 25 g flaxseed mucilage each significantly decreased postprandial blood glucose responses by 27%. Malondialdehyde levels in muffins containing 15 g flaxseed oil or flour/kg were similar to those in wheat-flour muffins. Cyanogenic glycosides (linamarin, linustatin, neolinustatin) were highest in extracted flaxseed mucilage but were not detected in baked muffins containing 150 g flaxseed/kg. We conclude that up to 50 g high-α-linolenic acid flaxseed/d is palatable, safe and may be nutritionally beneficial in humans by raising n-3 fatty acids in plasma and erythrocytes and by decreasing postprandial glucose responses.

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References
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British Journal of Nutrition
  • ISSN: 0007-1145
  • EISSN: 1475-2662
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition
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