Can Flaxseeds Help Treat Diabetes?

Drug companies hope to capitalize on the fact that the consumption of certain plants appears to lower the risk of diabetes by isolating these plants’ active components for use and sale as pharmacological agents. Though not as profitable, why don’t we just eat the plants themselves?

One plant in particular that’s now been tested is flax. We’ve known for 20 years that having ground flax in your stomach can blunt the blood sugar spike from a meal, but it’s never been tested in diabetics–until now. World Health Organization researchers published an open-label study on the effect of flax seed powder supplementation in the management of diabetes.

Diabetic subjects took a tablespoon of ground flax seeds every day for a month, and, compared to the control group, experienced a significant drop in fasting blood sugars, triglycerides, and cholesterol, as well as the most important thing, a drop in A1C level. If one’s sugars are already well controlled, though, there may be no additional benefit.

How does flax help control blood sugars? Flaxseeds may improve insulin sensitivity in glucose intolerant people. After 12 weeks of flax, researchers found a small but significant drop in insulin resistance, perhaps related to the drop in oxidant stress due to the antioxidant qualities of flaxseeds.

The study profiled in the above video showing a tablespoon of daily ground flax seeds for a month appears to improve fasting blood sugars, triglycerides, cholesterol, and hemoglobin A1c levels in diabetics was a non-blinded, non-randomized small study. If it was some drug they were testing, I’d never prescribe it based on this one study, but this isn’t a drug. It’s just flaxseeds. There are just good side effects, so even if this study was a fluke or fraud, flaxseeds have other benefits. In the worst case scenario the seed would still end up benefiting patients who aren’t quite ready or able to reverse their diabetes completely with a plant-based diet.

Flaxseeds are calorically dense, but even adding a half cup of ground flax a day may not lead to weight gain. When 4 tablespoons a day were tested for 3 months the flax group ended up with a slimmer waist than the flaxseed oil or control group. Because of the potential of raw flax seeds to interfere with thyroid function at high doses, though, I would only recommend 2 tablespoons a day. And I would not recommend flaxseed supplementation during pregnancy.

The flaxseed study reminds me of the Prunes vs. Metamucil for Constipation one, or any of those talking about various foods that may control blood sugar (Amla Versus Diabetes), weight (Fat Burning Via Flavonoids), cholesterol (Dried Apples Versus Cholesterol), or sexual dysfunction (Watermelon as Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction). Yes, these foods may help, but why not get at the root of the problem and try to reverse the condition altogether with a healthier diet overall?

The three best books on reversing type 2 diabetes with diet are Defeating Diabetes, co-authored by my favorite dietician, Brenda Davis, and from two of my medical mentors: Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program To Reverse Diabetes Now and Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s The End of Diabetes.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos here and watch my full 2012 year-in-review presentation Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death.

Image credit: sean dreilingerPhú Thịnh Co, and grafixtek / Flickr

Related:
Paula Deen’s Diabetes: A Deep-Fried Drug Endorsement

Do You Want Fries with That Lipitor?
Is There a Safe, Low-Calorie Sweetener?

85 comments

Greg T.
Greg T.8 days ago

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Iyabiye H.
Iyabiye H.3 months ago

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Hosea Z.
Hosea Z.4 months ago

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Hosea Z.
Hosea Z.4 months ago

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Hosea Z.
Hosea Z.4 months ago

Good day to you all am very happy to write this testimony to the whole world to see the great work of the great man who God has used to heal me of my Diabetes, sickness, His name is Dr Alabi for curing my ( Diabetes ) with his Herbal Medicine. i have being suffering from Diabetes type 2 for 25 years now,and since then was using drug over which keep me till today,but one day as I was surfing through the Internet I met a post about a lady who was cured for Diabetes by Dr Alabi so I decided to give it a try to see if he could save my life Luckily for me I was cured by him. I cannot stop thanking him for what he has done for me if you are into similar problem you can contact him via email on dralabispelltemple@gmail.com or dralabispelltemple@hotmail.com or whatsapp 2348146226679

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 .
.4 months ago

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.4 months ago

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 .
.4 months ago

susan is my name; i had suffered Diabetes for several years ago. My sugar level was as high as anything you can think about. i looked for how to get rid of this diabetes for a long period of time, but could not found any solution. Though i have always believed on herbal medicine, but was never chanced to look for any because of my work. But not too long i saw some good news on the internet on how a herbal doctor cured so many persons of various diseases, and viruses. So i also decided to contact the doctor those people talked about he is by the name Doctor Aba. I emailed him, and i explained my problem to him, he said he has the cure for diabetes and i decided to give him a try because there is no harm in trying. So i started the process, and he prepared some herbs and sent it to me here in my country, so i began to use it, and behold it worked for me like a magic. I am happy to say today i am diabetes free, and my sugar level is back to normalcy. Please if you also have same, and or similar problem please rush to contact Doctor Aba before it becomes too late for you. His email is dr.abaherbalhome@gmail.com you can whatsApp his number on 2348107155060

SEND
Ashwin V.
Ashwin V.5 months ago

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Ashwin V.
Ashwin V.5 months ago

God bless me with a good Dr. Eboehi for his marvelous work in my life, I was diagnosed of Diabetes since 2015 and I was taking my medications, I wasn't satisfied i needed to get the Diabetes out of my system, I searched about some possible cure for Diabetes, i saw a comment about Dr. Eboehi, how he cured Diabetes with his herbal medicine, I contacted him and he guided me. I asked for solutions, he started the remedy for my health, he sent me the medicine through UPS SPEED POST. I took the medicine as prescribed by him and 7 days later i was cured from Diabetes, Dr. Eboehi truly you are great. Do you need his help also? Why don't you contact him through: dreboehispelltemple@gmail.com Thanks

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