flaxseed for constipation
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A first-of-its-kind study looked at how flaxseed for constipation in patients with type 2 diabetes had important implications for lipid profile, glycemic index, and weight.

Constipation is one of the complications associated with type 2 diabetes and managing it better is an important need. The lack of efficiency, availability, and safety associated with existing treatment regimens raises a need to investigate diet further in controlling type 2 diabetes.

Flaxseed is a rich source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids, and soluble fibre, and may have important health benefits for type 2 diabetes. A recent study specifically investigated the benefits of flaxseed for constipation in type 2 diabetes. The results, published in Nutrition and Metabolism, has led to some important findings.

The study screened 375 patients with type 2 diabetes and included 54 in the study. The researchers randomly grouped participants into one of two groups: one group received 10g of flaxseed pre-mixed cookies twice per day and the other group received placebo cookies. Both groups ate the cookies twice per day for a period of 12 weeks. The participants were not aware whether they received flaxseed or placebo cookies. Both types of cookies were orange-flavoured, sugar-free, and contained maltodextrin, which helped to mask their tastes, looks, and textures.

The study found that the10g of flaxseed cookies consumed over a 12-week period significantly improved the outcomes in the participants. It improved constipation symptoms, lipid control, and glucose levels.

Body mass index (BMI) and body weight also improved in these patients. The authors suspect that the change in body weight could be due to the high-fiber content and stimulation of the satiety hormone production, increasing feelings of fullness and satisfaction in the participants.

This is the first study to consider the impact of flaxseed on patients specifically with a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. However, the exact mechanism of how flaxseed controls body weight, body lipids and glucose is unclear. The authors note it could be due to the high concentration of polyunsaturated fats in flaxseeds. It has been seen in previous research that a diet rich in polyunsaturated fats aids better abdominal fat distribution in the body and also improves sensitivity to insulin.

Some of the limitations of the study include the fact that it was a single-blind study, a small number of participants, and a short follow-up period.

However, these findings are important for those with type 2 diabetes as it shows that snacks with flaxseed content can help control glycemic levels, lipid levels, and weight. It has also indicated that using flaxseed for constipation is an effective choice.

Written by Sonia Leslie Fernandez, Medical News Writer

Reference: Soltanian, N., & Janghorbani, M. (2018). A randomized trial of the effects of flaxseed to manage constipation, weight, glycemia, and lipids in constipated patients with type 2 diabetes. Nutrition & metabolism, 15(1), 36.

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