Flaxseed for Hypertension: Implications for Blood Pressure Regulation


Hypertension is the single largest risk factor attributed to mortality in the world. Medications are the primary treatment for hypertension; however, adherence to drug regimens is low (~50 %). Low adherence may be a contributing factor leading to uncontrolled blood pressure in patients. An effective alternative or complement to medications in managing hypertension is through lifestyle modifications. Adopting a healthy diet is a valuable strategy. A recent, randomized controlled year-long trial observed impressive reductions in blood pressure in patients with hypertension consuming flaxseed daily. Therefore, attention has been garnered for flaxseed as a potentially valuable strategy for the management of hypertension. This review will highlight the recent data for flaxseed and its extracts in blood pressure regulation in both animal models and clinical trials. Insight into the proposed anti-hypertensive mechanism of flaxseed and the implications of flaxseed as a potential global anti-hypertensive therapy will be discussed.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2



Alpha-linolenic acid


Blood pressure


Diastolic blood pressure






Mean arterial pressure


Systolic blood pressure


Secoisolariciresinol diglucoside




Spontaneously hypertensive rats


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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The work was supported through grants from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), the Agri-food Research and Development Initiative, Western Grains Research Foundation and Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission. Indirect research support was obtained from St Boniface Hospital Foundation.

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Conflict of Interest

Stephanie P. B. Caligiuri reports a Patient Oriented Research Doctoral Award from CIHR. Andrea L. Edel was a recipient of a Doctoral Research Scholarship from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

Michel Aliani has nothing to disclose.

Grant N. Pierce reports grants from Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission, Agriculture Research Development Initiative and Western Grains Research Foundation.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Grant N. Pierce.

Additional information

Stephanie P. B. Caligiuri and Andrea L. Edel contributed equally to this paper.

This article is part of the Topical Collection on Pathogenesis of Hypertension

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Caligiuri, S.P.B., Edel, A.L., Aliani, M. et al. Flaxseed for Hypertension: Implications for Blood Pressure Regulation. Curr Hypertens Rep 16, 499 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11906-014-0499-8

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  • Dietary flaxseed
  • Anti-hypertensive therapy
  • Blood pressure regulation
  • Alpha-linolenic acid
  • Lignans
  • Enterolignans
  • Enterolactone
  • Enterodiol