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Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2009 Apr;34(2):89-98. doi: 10.1139/H08-142.

A randomized controlled trial of the effects of flaxseed lignan complex on metabolic syndrome composite score and bone mineral in older adults.

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  • 1College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N5B2, Canada. smc


A randomized double-blind placebo controlled study design was used to assess the effects of flaxseed lignan complex supplementation during exercise training on a metabolic syndrome composite score and osteoporosis risk in older adults. A total of 100 subjects (>or=50 years) were randomized to receive flaxseed lignan (543 in a 4050 mg complex) or placebo while completing a 6 month walking program (30-60, 5-6 days.week-1). Fasting serum glucose, triacylglycerol (TAG), high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, total cholesterol, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha were measured every 2 months, while body composition, bone mineral density, and resting blood pressure were assessed at baseline and at 6 months. A composite Z score of 6 risk factors for metabolic syndrome (fasting glucose, HDL cholesterol, TAG, abdominal adiposity, blood pressure, and inflammatory cytokines) was calculated at baseline and at 6 months. Men taking placebo increased metabolic syndrome composite Z score (p < 0.05), but there were no changes in the other groups. A significant group x sex x time interaction was noted for TAG (p = 0.017) and diastolic blood pressure (p = 0.046), with men taking flaxseed lignan decreasing diastolic blood pressure relative to men taking placebo, and men taking placebo increasing TAG relative to men taking flax lignan. There were no differences between groups for change in bone measures, body composition, lipoproteins, or cytokines. Males taking the flaxseed lignan complex reduced metabolic syndrome score relative to men taking placebo, but a similar trend was not seen in females. Flaxseed lignan had no effect on bone mineral density or content, body composition, lipoproteins, glucose, or inflammation.

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