The effect of dietary flaxseed on improving symptoms of cardiovascular disease in patients with peripheral artery disease: rationale and design of the FLAX-PAD randomized controlled trial

Contemp Clin Trials. 2011 Sep;32(5):724-30. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2011.05.005. Epub 2011 May 17.


Background: Flaxseed is an important source of alpha-linolenic acid an essential omega-3 fatty acid. The possibility that a supplementation of the diet with foods rich in alpha-linolenic acid, antioxidants and fiber (like flaxseed) has not been investigated.

Methods/design: The primary objective is to determine whether consumption of a diet rich in FLAXseed over a one year period has any beneficial cardiovascular effects in patients with Peripheral Arterial Disease (FLAX-PAD study). This is a single center, prospective, double blinded, randomized controlled clinical trial aimed at in 110 patients over 40 years old and with peripheral arterial disease. Patients will receive 30 g of milled flaxseed (or placebo) per day. Primary endpoints are incidence of myocardial infarction and stroke. Secondary measures include: requirement for surgical interventions, exercise and cardiopulmonary performance, cardiac arrhythmias, serum lipid profile, arterial sufficiency, blood pressure, inflammatory profile, platelet function, changes in drug dosage levels, as well as nutrigenomic and biomarker profiles in the blood. Recruitment and baseline examinations started in October 2008. Baseline data of the 110 patients is shown.

Conclusions: FLAX-PAD will generate data on the safety, tolerability, cardiovascular efficacy and genomic response to a diet rich in flaxseed. It will determine the effects on primary and secondary events (stroke, myocardial infarctions, angina pectoris, cardiac arrhythmias) as well as in secondary endpoints (exercise performance, blood pressure and circulating lipid levels) in patients with PAD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Flax*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease / drug therapy*
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Plant Preparations*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic*
  • Research Design*
  • Sample Size
  • alpha-Linolenic Acid / therapeutic use


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Plant Preparations
  • alpha-Linolenic Acid