Posted on Jul 10, 2019, 1 p.m.
Flaxseeds are fiber rich and may help improve cholesterol levels, according to a study published in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism flaxseeds may also be used to help promote weight loss naturally.
Flaxseed come in two types: golden and brown, both offer many health benefits, and the usual serving size for ground flaxseeds is about one tablespoon. They contain fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamins and minerals including vitamins B1, B6, calcium, iron, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
In this collaborative study, researchers from the University of Gothenburg and the University of Copenhagen report adding flaxseed to diet was found to help manage cholesterol and fight inflammation. The seeds are reported to ferment in the gut and alter gastrointestinal microbiota, which has a positive influence on metabolic health and helps to protect against obesity, especially when following a high fat diet.
Gut microbiota was identified as being an important factor that regulates adiposity and glucose tolerance, diet was noted as being one of the major factors that influence gut microbiota; changing composition of gut microbiota by making healthy dietary changes was noted to naturally improve metabolism.
Breakdown of dietary fiber is linked with beneficial changes to gut microbiome; but it is not fully understood how flaxseed fiber specifically changes health after it has been fermented in the gut. To address this researchers experimented with mice divided into 4 groups: A standard diet with 4.6% soy derived fiber as control; a high fat non fiber diet; a high fat 10% indigestible cellulose fiber diet; and a high fat 10% flaxseed fiber diet.
How much the animals ate; how much they drank; how much energy they expended; how much oxygen they used; and how much carbon dioxide they produced was measured to examine the metabolic changes taking place in all of the animals. Glucose blood sugar levels were measured near the conclusion of the study.
The animals were kept on their assigned diets for 12 weeks, then samples were taken from their large intestine to examine how their gut bacterial contents and other biological products were affected by their diet. Mice who consumed a high fat diet were found to have had fewer gut bacteria associated with better metabolic health, they also had fewer good fatty acids and higher concentrations of a bacterium associated with obesity.
Bacterial diversity in the gut of mice fed the cellulose or flaxseed diet were found to have reached a healthier balance at the conclusion of 12 weeks; the flaxseed group was more physically active and displayed less weight gain compared to the other groups. After examining their large intestine content their gut bacteria was determined to have helped break down the fibers in the flaxseed shells, and to have produced high levels of beneficial fatty acids.
Flaxseed fiber supplements were concluded to affect metabolism by boosting energy expenditure, preventing obesity, and improving glucose tolerance; additional research will help to better understand how different microbes and flaxseed fiber affects an individual’s metabolism.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.