Clinical and metabolic response to flaxseed oil omega-3 fatty acids supplementation in patients with diabetic foot ulcer: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

J Diabetes Complications. 2017 Sep;31(9):1394-1400. doi: 10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2017.06.010. Epub 2017 Jun 28.


Background: Data on the effects of flaxseed oil omega-3 fatty acids supplementation on wound healing and metabolic status in subjects with diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) are scarce.

Objective: This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of flaxseed oil omega-3 fatty acids supplementation on wound healing and metabolic status in subjects with DFU.

Methods: The current randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted among 60 subjects (aged 40-85years old) with grade 3 DFU. Subjects were randomly allocated into two groups (30 subjects each group) to receive either 1000mg omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseed oil supplements or placebo twice a day for 12weeks.

Results: After the 12-week intervention, compared with the placebo, omega-3 fatty acids supplementation resulted in significant decreases in ulcer length (-2.0±2.3 vs. -1.0±1.1cm, P=0.03), width (-1.8±1.7 vs. -1.0±1.0cm, P=0.02) and depth (-0.8±0.6 vs. -0.5±0.5cm, P=0.01). Additionally, significant reductions in serum insulin concentrations (-4.4±5.5 vs. +1.4±8.3 μIU/mL, P=0.002), homeostasis model of assessment-estimated insulin resistance (-2.1±3.0 vs. +1.0±5.0, P=0.005) and HbA1c (-0.9±1.5 vs. -0.1±0.4%, P=0.01), and a significant rise in the quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (+0.01±0.01 vs. -0.005±0.02, P=0.002) were seen following supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids compared with the placebo. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids supplementation significantly decreased serum high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) (-25.5±31.5 vs. -8.2±18.9μg/mL, P=0.01), and significantly increased plasma total antioxidant capacity (TAC) (+83.5±111.7 vs. -73.4±195.5mmol/L, P<0.001) and glutathione (GSH) concentrations (+60.7±140.2 vs. -15.5±129.7μmol/L, P=0.03) compared with the placebo.

Conclusions: Overall, omega-3 fatty acids supplementation for 12weeks among subjects with DFU had beneficial effects on parameters of ulcer size, markers of insulin metabolism, serum hs-CRP, plasma TAC and GSH levels. In addition, flaxseed oil omega-3 fatty acids may have played an indirect role in wound healing due to its effects on improved metabolic profiles.

Keywords: Diabetic foot; Inflammatory markers; Insulin metabolism; Metabolic status; Omega-3 fatty acids administration; Wound healing.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diabetic Foot / diet therapy*
  • Diabetic Foot / metabolism*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linseed Oil / administration & dosage
  • Linseed Oil / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Metabolome / drug effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Placebos
  • Wound Healing / drug effects


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Placebos
  • Linseed Oil