Research from Canada's St Boniface Hospital Research Center and the University of Manitoba has found that taking flaxseed as a supplement can significantly reduce and lower blood pressure - especially among patients with peripheral artery disease, hypertension, and high blood pressure.
Peripheral artery disease is typically accompanied by hypertension or high blood pressure. Peripheral artery disease occurs when the walls of blood vessels become narrowed throughout the body become thickened with a buildup of plaque. Often this is more pronounced among the blood vessels of the lower legs. This thickening and buildup of this plaque will increase blood pressure because the blood vessels become less elastic.
The St. Boniface and University of Manitoba researchers gave one hundred and ten peripheral artery disease patients a placebo or thirty grams of ground flaxseed every day for six months.
After the six months, the flaxseed group had marked and significantly lower levels of oxylipins. Oxylipins are known to be linked with artery damage, thrombosis, hypertension and cardiovascular disease in general. Recent research from Philadelphia's Thomas Jefferson University has linked high oxylipin levels with diabetes as well.
Oxylipins are formed when polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) become oxidized. This formation of oxylipins can occur in lipids such as free DHA and EPA, along with others.
The blood pressure of the St. Boniface and University of Manitobagroup group given the flaxseed was lowered significantly. Their systolic blood pressure (SBP) on average was 10 mm Hg lower than at the beginning of the study, and their diastolic blood pressure (DBP) was lower by 7 mm Hg on average.
Flaxseed contains a number of constituents that work synergistically to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. These include alpha-linolenic acid, linoleic acid, oligosaccharide-rich fiber and lignans.
Caligiuri SP, Aukema HM, Ravandi A, Guzman R, Dibrov E, Pierce GN. Flaxseed Consumption Reduces Blood Pressure in Patients With Hypertension by Altering Circulating Oxylipins via an α-Linolenic Acid-Induced Inhibition of Soluble Epoxide Hydrolase. Hypertension. 2014 Apr 28.
Tourdot BE, Ahmed I, Holinstat M. The emerging role of oxylipins in thrombosis and diabetes. Front Pharmacol. 2014 Jan 7;4:176. eCollection 2014 Jan 7.