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?

90 comments

Mike R
Mike Rabout a month ago

Thanks

SEND
Mike R
Mike Rabout a month ago

Thanks

SEND
Fabienne E
Fabienne Eabout a year ago

As you all know that HIV/AIDs and Cancer are getting stronger and spreading day by day and that we are not responsible for the pains of our loved ones, but it’s our responsibility to help those who are infected with viruses. The only way for us to find peace in this world is to love one another and stand by each other. Am sharing this comment because I was once suffering from HIV for 4 years and Genital Herpes for some months until I got help from Dr. Osojo who helped me with a herbal cure for both Genital Herpes and my 4 years HIV virus. If you also need help, you can also reach him: { dr.osojoherbalcureofalldisease@gmail.com } or call him on +234 810 066 3964. You could also use this link, http://drosojoherbalcure.wixsite.com/ofalldisease .Having HIV/Aids or Herpes isn’t the end of your life, it’s actually not a death sentence for you, there is a cure and Dr. Osojo can help you with it as he did mine.

SEND
Nancy P.
Nancy P.2 years ago

five months ago I constantly had to go to the bathroom. I thought it was because I gave up soft drinks and was only drinking water. One day I had a stomachache. I was in bed for 4 days. The doctor's appointment was for a Wednesday. I got sick and went to emergency room on a Monday. I was told my blood sugar level was 810 and I have diabetes. Since then, As the disease progressed all medication stopped working, i was introduced to Health herbal clinic in Johannesburg who have successful herbal treatment to diabetes . I spoke to few people who used the treatment here in USA and they all gave a positive response, so i immediately purchased the diabetes herbal remedy and commenced usage, i used the herbal supplement for only 7 weeks, all symptoms gradually faded away, herbs are truly gift from God. contact this herbal clinic via their email healthherbalclinic@gmai.com or visit www.healthherbalclinic.weebly.com

SEND
Alex J.
Alex J.2 years ago

I am thanking Dr OSAGIE. for the excellent work on people's life. We contacted Dr OSAGIE. and he started his work on my life and right now i am cured of hiv i was was diagnosed with HIV and after taking Dr.OSAGIE Herbal medicine i was cured. You can reach him
oin him on whatapps with this is +2347030465649 or his is number
call
+2347030465649...
.http://drosagie.webs.com
drosagiesolutiontemple@gmail.com OR
DROSAGIESOULTIONTEMPLE@YAHOO.COM

SEND
Greg T.
Greg T.2 years ago

They say DIABETES has no cure, but that’s not true. Dr. OJO has a herbal remedy to cure diabetes totally, contact him now and be free he is tested and trusted. Email: ojoherbal@gmail.com Tel: +2348180785770

SEND
Iyabiye H.
Iyabiye H.2 years ago

A lot of people don’t believe in herbal medication, but herbal medications remain the cure for DIABETES without them knowing it. Dr. Iyabiye has the cure to eradicate it total from your body, contact him now for help. Email: iyabiyehealinghome@gmail.com Tel: 2348072229413

SEND
Hosea Z.
Hosea Z.2 years 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 or call 2348105074556

SEND
Hosea Z.
Hosea Z.2 years 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 or call 2348105074556

SEND
Hosea Z.
Hosea Z.2 years 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

SEND