Chia seed (Salvia hispanica L.) effects and their molecular mechanisms on unbalanced diet experimental studies: A systematic review

J Food Sci. 2020 Feb;85(2):226-239. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.15003. Epub 2020 Jan 23.


The aim of this review was to compile evidence and understand chia seed effects on unbalanced diet animal studies and the molecular mechanisms on metabolic biomarker modulation. A systematic review was conducted in electronic databases, following PRISMA recommendations. Risk of bias and quality was assessed using SYRCLE toll and ARRIVE guidelines. Seventeen articles were included. Throughout the studies, chia's main effects are associated with AMPK modulation: improvement of glucose and insulin tolerance, lipogenesis, antioxidant activity, and inflammation. Details about randomization and allocation concealment were insufficient, as well as information about blind protocols. Sample size, chia dose, and number of animals evaluated for each parameter were found to be lacking information among the studies. Based on experimental study data, chia has bioactive potential, and its daily consumption may reduce the risk of chronic disease development, mainly due to the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, hypoglycemic, and hypolipidemic effects of the seed. PRACTICAL APPLICATION: The consumption of chia seeds may improve lipid profile, insulin and glucose tolerance, and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. Whole seed or its oil presents positive effect, but the effects of chia oil can act faster than the seed.

Keywords: Salvia hispanica L; alpha linolenic acid; chia seed; dyslipidemia; glucose tolerance.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism*
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Lipids / chemistry
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Salvia / chemistry
  • Salvia / metabolism*
  • Seeds / chemistry
  • Seeds / metabolism


  • Insulin
  • Lipids
  • Glucose