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Supplementation of Milled Chia Seeds Increases Plasma ALA and EPA in Postmenopausal Women


Ten postmenopausal women (age 55.6 ± 0.8 years, BMI 24.6 ± 1.1 kg/m2) ingested 25 g/day milled chia seed during a 7-week period, with six plasma samples collected for measurement of α-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Subjects operated as their own controls with overnight fasted blood samples taken at baseline (average of two samples), and then after 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7 weeks supplementation. Plasma ALA increased significantly after one week supplementation and was 138 % above baseline levels by the end of the study (overall time effect, P < 0.001). EPA increased 30 % above baseline (overall time effect, P = 0.019) and was correlated across time with ALA (r = 0.84, P = 0.02). No significant change in plasma DPA levels was measured (overall time effect, P = 0.067). Plasma DHA decreased slightly by the end of the study (overall time effect, P = 0.030) and was not correlated with change in ALA. In conclusion, ingestion of 25 g/day milled chia seeds for seven weeks by postmenopausal women resulted in significant increases in plasma ALA and EPA but not DPA and DHA.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2



α-linolenic acid


Analysis of variance


Association of Official Agricultural Chemists


Body mass index


Docosahexaenoic acid


Docosapentaenoic acid


Eicosapentaenoic acid


Gas chromatography time of flight mass spectrometry


High performance liquid chromatography time of flight mass spectrometry


Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry


n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids


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We acknowledge the assistance of Dustin Dew of Appalachian State University and Tondra Blevins of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for their assistance in this project. We also acknowledge Raymond P. Glahn, Michael A. Rutzke, YongPei Chang, and Mary Bodis from the USDA/ARS at Cornell University for their assistance in the ICP-MS mineral analysis of the milled chia seed supplement. Financial support was provided in part by Chia Farms, Inc. (Orlando, FL, USA).

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All authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to David C. Nieman.

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Jin, F., Nieman, D.C., Sha, W. et al. Supplementation of Milled Chia Seeds Increases Plasma ALA and EPA in Postmenopausal Women. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 67, 105–110 (2012).

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  • Fatty acids
  • Chia seed
  • Women
  • Postmenopausal