SUBSCRIBE

Breaking News on Supplements, Health & Nutrition - Europe US edition | APAC edition

News > Research

Read more breaking news

 

 

Chia seeds may offer omega-3 heart and liver benefits: Study

By Nathan Gray , 26-Jul-2011
Last updated on 26-Jul-2011 at 14:42 GMT2011-07-26T14:42:56Z

Consumption of chia seeds as a source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) may bring about redistribution associated with heart and liver protection, according to new research in rats.

The study, published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, reports that rats fed chia seed supplements were protected from heart and liver problems associated with a high-fat diet, including improved insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, reduced visceral adiposity, decreased liver fat, and lower cardiac and hepatic inflammation and fibrosis.

The research, from the University of Queensland, Australia, revealed that the chia seeds brought about lipid redistribution in the rats, with lipids trafficked away from the visceral fat and the liver.

“We report an intricate pattern of fatty acid distribution in various tissues from rats fed a chia seed-supplemented diet that would probably lead to an improved lipid homeostatic condition,” said the researchers, led by Lindsay Brown, an associate professor at the University of Queensland.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of lipid redistribution with a rich dietary source of any omega-3 fatty acid associated with cardio-protection and hepato-protection,” they added.

ALA benefits

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that the body cannot make, and therefore must be consumed in the diet. Good sources of ALA include: chia seeds, flaxseed, soybeans, walnuts, and olive oil.

The U.S Institute of Medicine recommends an ALA intake of 1.6 grams per day for men and 1.1 grams per day for women.

“In human diets, ALA, the essential omega-3 fatty acid, is usually derived from plant sources such as flax seed, while EPA and DHA are ingested from fish, fish oil supplements and other sea foods,” said the researchers.

The health benefits associated with ALA consumption include cardiovascular effects, neuro-protection, a counter to the inflammation response, and benefits against autoimmune disease. However, the longer-chain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have received more study from scientists and more attention from the consumers.

Brown and her colleagues noted that chia seeds are the “richest botanical source of ALA,” containing about 60 per cent ALA.

Study details

The new research investigated the metabolic, cardiac, and liver changes following 5 per cent chia seed supplementation in high carbohydrate, high-fat diet-fed rats with low omega-3 fatty acid status.

Rats fed the high-fat diet were found to develop hypertension, impaired glucose and insulin tolerance, dyslipidemia, fatty livers, cardiac fibrosis and functional deterioration, inflammation and abdominal obesity.

“With the exception of elevated blood pressure and some plasma markers of liver function, dietary chia seed supplementation attenuated structural and functional changes caused by high-fat feeding,” said the authors.

“Chia seed supplementation caused lipid redistribution away from the abdominal cavity … and increased omega-3:omega-6 ratio in various tissues,” they added.

The supplemented rats improved insulin and glucose tolerance, reduced visceral adiposity, decreased hepatic steatosis (fatty liver), reduced cardiac and hepatic fibrosis and inflammation without changes in plasma lipids or blood pressure.

“Thus, chia seeds as a source of ALA induce lipid redistribution associated with cardio-protection and hepato-protection,” said Brown and her colleagues.

They added that the results of the research warrant further research on the use of chia seed as a complimentary therapy for treating some signs of metabolic syndrome.

Source: The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2010.11.011
“Lipid redistribution by α-linolenic acid-rich chia seed inhibits stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 and induces cardiac and hepatic protection in diet-induced obese rats”
Authors: H. Poudyal, S.K. Panchal, J. Waanders, L. Ward, L. Brown

Related products

Live Supplier Webinars

Polyphenols tipped to become the way to innovate in Sports Nutrition
Fytexia
Alpha & Omega in Sports Nutrition – Using Omega 3’s and A-GPC to improve performance and recovery.
KD Pharma
Orally bioavailable standardized botanical derivatives in sport nutrition: special focus on recovery in post-intense physical activities
Indena
Collagen in motion: move freely and keep your injuries in check
Leading manufacturer of gelatine and collagen peptides
Life’s too short for slow proteins. Whey proteins hydrolysates: Fast delivery for enhanced performance
Arla Foods Ingredients
What it Takes to Compete and Win in Today’s Sports Nutrition Market
Capsugel
Sports Nutrition Snapshot: Key regional drivers and delivery format innovations
William Reed Business Media
Gutsy performance: How can microbiome modulation help athletes and weekend warriors
William Reed Business Media
Pushing the boundaries: Where’s the line between ‘cutting edge nutrition’ and doping
William Reed Business Media

On demand Supplier Webinars

High-amylose maize starch may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes: what does this qualified health claim mean?
Ingredion
Balancing Innovation and Risk in Sports Nutrition Ingredients
NSF-International
Explaining bio-hacking: is there a marketing opportunity for food companies?
William Reed Business Media
Personalized Nutrition – how an industry can take part in shaping the future of Nutrition
BASF Nutrition & Health
Find out Nutritional and ingredient lifecycle solutions and strategies!
Roquette
Is the time rIpe for I-nutrition?
William Reed Business Media
The Advantage of Outsourcing Fermentation-based Manufacturing Processes
Evonik Health Care
All supplier webinars