Objective: To evaluate the scientific evidence on chia (Salvia hispanica) including history, folkloric precedent, expert opinion, pharmacology, dosing, interactions, adverse effects, and toxicology. This review serves as a clinical support tool.
Methods: Electronic searches were conducted in ten databases, 20 additional journals (not indexed in common databases), and bibliographies from 50 selected secondary references. No restrictions were placed on language or quality of publications. All literature collected pertained to efficacy in humans, dosing, precautions, adverse effects, use in pregnancy/lactation, interactions, alteration of laboratory assays, and mechanisms of action. Standardized inclusion/exclusion criteria are utilized for selection. Grades were assigned using an evidence-based grading rationale.
Results: The available human and non-human studies show possible effectiveness for allergies, angina, athletic performance enhancement, cancer, coronary heart disease (CHD), heart attack, hormonal/endocrine disorders, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, stroke, and vasodilatation. Some evidence also suggests possible anticoagulant, antioxidant, and antiviral effects of Salvia hispanica.
Conclusion: There is limited evidence supporting the efficacy of Salvia hispanica for any indication; thus far, only two clinical studies have examined the effects of Salvia hispanica on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors (including body weight). One study showed some effects on some CVD risk factors, while the other did not. Neither study showed any effects of Salvia hispanica on weight loss. However, the historical use of Salvia hispanica suggests that it is safe for consumption by nonallergic individuals. Further rigorous examination is warranted pertaining to the use of Salvia hispanica as a dietary supplement, as well as in the treatment or prevention of human disease.