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Review
. 2010 Nov;26(9):489-96.
doi: 10.1016/s0828-282x(10)70455-4.

The Cardiovascular Effects of Flaxseed and Its omega-3 Fatty Acid, Alpha-Linolenic Acid

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Free PMC article
Review

The Cardiovascular Effects of Flaxseed and Its omega-3 Fatty Acid, Alpha-Linolenic Acid

Delfin Rodriguez-Leyva et al. Can J Cardiol. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Preventing the occurrence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) with nutritional interventions is a therapeutic strategy that may warrant greater research attention. The increased use of omega (ω)-3 fatty acids is a powerful example of one such nutritional strategy that may produce significant cardiovascular benefits. Marine food products have provided the traditional dietary sources of ω-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed is an alternative to marine products. It is one of the richest sources of the plant-based ω-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Based on the results of clinical trials, epidemiological investigations and experimental studies, ingestion of ALA has been suggested to have a positive impact on CVD. Because of its high ALA content, the use of flaxseed has been advocated to combat CVD. The purpose of the present review was to identify the known cardiovascular effects of flaxseed and ALA and, just as importantly, what is presently unknown.

La prévention de l’occurrence de maladies cardiovasculaires (MCV) au moyen d’interventions nutritionnelles est une stratégie thérapeutique qui pourrait susciter plus de recherches. L’utilisation accrue d’acides gras oméga (ω)-3 est un exemple évocateur de stratégie nutritionnelle qui peut procurer des bienfaits cardiovasculaires. Les produits alimentaires marins ont toujours constitué la source alimentaire d’acides gras ω-3. Les graines de lin peuvent toutefois remplacer les produits marins. C’est l’une des sources les plus riches d’acides gras ω-3 d’origine végétale, l’acide alpha-linolénique (ALA). Selon les résultats d’essais cliniques, d’études épidémiologiques et d’études expérimentales, il est postulé que l’ingestion d’ALA aurait des effets positifs sur les MCV. En raison du contenu élevé des graines de lin en ALA, on avance que son utilisation combat les MCV. La présente analyse visait à déterminer les effets cardiovasculaires connus des graines de lin et de l’ALA et, de manière tout aussi importante, ceux qu’on ne connaît pas encore.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Interconversion of omega (ω)-6 and ω-3 fatty acids. Biochemical pathway. Δ Delta; ALA Alpha-linolenic acid; ARA Arachidonic acid; DGLA Dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid; DHA Docosahexaenoic acid; DPA Docosapentaenoic acid; EPA Eicosapentaenoic acid; GLA Gamma-linolenic acid; LA Linoleic acid
Figure 2
Figure 2
Atherosclerotic plaque formation in representative aortas taken from low-density lipoprotein receptor-deficient mice fed for 24 weeks with a diet supplemented with 2% cholesterol (A) or a diet supplemented with 2% cholesterol and 10% flaxseed (B). Note the significantly reduced plaque formation when flaxseed is included in the diet. Data from reference

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