Cholesterol/LipidsFiberFlaxseedOmega-3 Fatty Acids

Lowering cholesterol with flaxseed in postmenopausal women

Researchers from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater report a positive response in a sea of inconsistency.

First, the details.

  • 55 Native American postmenopausal women with mild to moderately high cholesterol levels were randomly assigned to 3 treatments
    • Flaxseed
    • Flaxseed + additional oat bran fiber
    • No flaxseed (control)

And, the results.

  • Flaxseed supplementation lowered total cholesterol 7% and LDL (bad) cholesterol 10%.
  • HDL (good) cholesterol and triglyceride levels didn’t change.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Native American postmenopausal women benefit from regular consumption of flaxseed … as seen from lowered LDL-C and total cholesterol levels.”

The effect of flaxseed on cholesterol might due to its fiber and omega-3 fatty acid content.

However, the Mayo Clinic review of flaxseed and flaxseed oil (Linum usitatissimum) reveals inconsistency in study results. “In laboratory and animal studies, flaxseed and flaxseed oil … lower blood cholesterol levels. Effects on blood triglyceride levels in animals are unclear, with increased levels in some research, and decreased levels in other research. Human studies in this area report mixed results, with decreased blood levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (“bad cholesterol”) in some studies, but no effect in other studies.”

3/12/08 10:16 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.