The effects of n-3 fatty acids from flaxseed oil on genetic and metabolic profiles in patients with gestational diabetes mellitus: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Br J Nutr. 2020 Apr 14;123(7):792-799. doi: 10.1017/S0007114519003416. Epub 2020 Jan 6.


The present study was performed to evaluate the effects of n-3 fatty acids from flaxseed oil on genetic and metabolic profiles in patients with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). This randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial was performed in sixty women with GDM. Participants were randomly divided into two groups to intake either 2 × 1000 mg/d n-3 fatty acids from flaxseed oil containing 400 mg α-linolenic acid in each capsule (n 30) or placebo (n 30) for 6 weeks. n-3 Fatty acid intake up-regulated PPAR-γ (P < 0·001) and LDL receptor (P = 0·004) and down-regulated gene expression of IL-1 (P = 0·002) and TNF-α (P = 0·001) in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of subjects with GDM. In addition, n-3 fatty acid supplementation reduced fasting plasma glucose (P = 0·001), insulin levels (P = 0·001) and insulin resistance (P < 0·001) and increased insulin sensitivity (P = 0·005) when compared with the placebo. Additionally, n-3 fatty acid supplementation was associated with a decrease in TAG (P < 0·001), VLDL-cholesterol (P < 0·001), total cholesterol (P = 0·01) and total cholesterol:HDL-cholesterol ratio (P = 0·01) when compared with placebo. n-3 Fatty acid administration was also associated with a significant reduction in high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (P = 0·006) and malondialdehyde (P < 0·001), and an increase in total nitrite (P < 0·001) and total glutathione levels (P = 0·006) when compared with the placebo. n-3 Fatty acid supplementation for 6 weeks to women with GDM had beneficial effects on gene expression related to insulin, lipid and inflammation, glycaemic control, lipids, inflammatory markers and oxidative stress.

Keywords: Flaxseed oil; Gestational diabetes; Inflammation; Insulin resistance; Metabolic status.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Diabetes, Gestational / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes, Gestational / metabolism*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / chemistry
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Linseed Oil / pharmacology*
  • Lipids / blood
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Pregnancy
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Lipids
  • Linseed Oil