Flashback Friday: Flax Seeds for Hypertension

Flashback Friday: Flax Seeds for Hypertension
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Extraordinary results reported in a rare example of a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of a dietary intervention (flaxseeds) to combat one of our leading killers, high blood pressure.

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A recent article in the journal Meat Science acknowledged that “a sector of the population perceives meat as a food that is detrimental to their health” because of studies associating meat consumption with heart disease and cancer. “For these reasons, these meat consumers look for healthier food alternatives as a means to maintain good health;” so, this represents a good opportunity for the industry to develop some new products. Natural foods could be added to meat to reach those health-oriented consumers by boosting antioxidant levels, for example. Foods like flax seeds and tomatoes are healthy, associated with reduced risks of cancer and cardiovascular disease. So, by making flax seed-tomato burgers, they figure they can reduce saturated fat intake and maybe eat less sugar somehow? It’s like their flax seed-fed pork idea, to produce “enriched lard.” Wouldn’t it be easier to just cut out the middle-pig and eat flax seeds ourselves?

Flax seeds have been described as a “miraculous defense against some critical maladies.” I’m a fan of flax, but this title seemed a bit over exuberant; I figured something just got lost in translation. But then, I saw this study, and realized maybe that title was not too far off.

Rarely do we see a dietary study of this caliber. A prospective, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized trial—you know how hard that is in a nutrition study? For drugs it’s easy, you have two identical looking pills: one’s active, one’s placebo, and until the end of the study neither the researcher nor the patient has any idea which is which, hence, double blind. But people tend to notice what they’re eating. So, how did they sneak a quarter cup of ground flax seeds into half of the people’s diets without them knowing? They created all these various flax- or placebo-containing foods, and even added bran and molasses to match the color and texture; so, it was all a big secret–until six months later, when they broke the code to see who ate which.

Why test it on hypertension? Because having a systolic blood pressure over 115—that’s the top number—may be the single most important determinant for death in the world today. If you take a bunch of older folks, most of them on an array of blood pressure pills and don’t improve their diet at all, despite the drugs, they may start out, on average, hypertensive and stay hypertensive six months later. But those who were unknowingly eating ground flax seeds every day dropped their systolic blood pressure about ten points, and their diastolic, the lower number, by about seven points. That might not sound like a lot, but a drop like that could cut stroke risk 46%, heart disease 29%, and that ten-point drop in the top number could have a similar effect on strokes and heart attacks. And for those who started out over 140, they got a 15-point drop. “In summary, flaxseed induced one of the most potent antihypertensive effects ever achieved by a dietary intervention.” In other words, the magnitude of this decrease in blood pressure demonstrated by dietary flax seeds, is as good or better than any other nutritional interventions, and comparable to many drugs, which can have serious side effects. And they’re not exaggerating about the comparable to drugs bit. The flax seeds dropped systolic and diastolic up to 15 and 7. Compare that to powerful ACE inhibitors, like Vasotec, which may drop pressures only 5 and 2. Calcium channel blockers, like Norvasc or Cardizem, 8 and 3–half of what the flax can do. Side effects include… Compare this list to the side effect of flax seeds–its pleasant nutty flavor.

During the six-month trial, there were strokes and heart attacks in both groups. Even if the flax seeds can cut risk in half, though, any avoidable risk is unacceptable. Isn’t high blood pressure just inevitable as we get older? No. The prevalence of hypertension does increase dramatically with age, but not for everyone. People who eat more plant-based diets or keep their salt intake low enough tend not to exhibit any change in blood pressure with advancing age. So, flax is great, but always better to prevent the disease in the first place.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to John and Anni Winings via Flickr.

A recent article in the journal Meat Science acknowledged that “a sector of the population perceives meat as a food that is detrimental to their health” because of studies associating meat consumption with heart disease and cancer. “For these reasons, these meat consumers look for healthier food alternatives as a means to maintain good health;” so, this represents a good opportunity for the industry to develop some new products. Natural foods could be added to meat to reach those health-oriented consumers by boosting antioxidant levels, for example. Foods like flax seeds and tomatoes are healthy, associated with reduced risks of cancer and cardiovascular disease. So, by making flax seed-tomato burgers, they figure they can reduce saturated fat intake and maybe eat less sugar somehow? It’s like their flax seed-fed pork idea, to produce “enriched lard.” Wouldn’t it be easier to just cut out the middle-pig and eat flax seeds ourselves?

Flax seeds have been described as a “miraculous defense against some critical maladies.” I’m a fan of flax, but this title seemed a bit over exuberant; I figured something just got lost in translation. But then, I saw this study, and realized maybe that title was not too far off.

Rarely do we see a dietary study of this caliber. A prospective, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized trial—you know how hard that is in a nutrition study? For drugs it’s easy, you have two identical looking pills: one’s active, one’s placebo, and until the end of the study neither the researcher nor the patient has any idea which is which, hence, double blind. But people tend to notice what they’re eating. So, how did they sneak a quarter cup of ground flax seeds into half of the people’s diets without them knowing? They created all these various flax- or placebo-containing foods, and even added bran and molasses to match the color and texture; so, it was all a big secret–until six months later, when they broke the code to see who ate which.

Why test it on hypertension? Because having a systolic blood pressure over 115—that’s the top number—may be the single most important determinant for death in the world today. If you take a bunch of older folks, most of them on an array of blood pressure pills and don’t improve their diet at all, despite the drugs, they may start out, on average, hypertensive and stay hypertensive six months later. But those who were unknowingly eating ground flax seeds every day dropped their systolic blood pressure about ten points, and their diastolic, the lower number, by about seven points. That might not sound like a lot, but a drop like that could cut stroke risk 46%, heart disease 29%, and that ten-point drop in the top number could have a similar effect on strokes and heart attacks. And for those who started out over 140, they got a 15-point drop. “In summary, flaxseed induced one of the most potent antihypertensive effects ever achieved by a dietary intervention.” In other words, the magnitude of this decrease in blood pressure demonstrated by dietary flax seeds, is as good or better than any other nutritional interventions, and comparable to many drugs, which can have serious side effects. And they’re not exaggerating about the comparable to drugs bit. The flax seeds dropped systolic and diastolic up to 15 and 7. Compare that to powerful ACE inhibitors, like Vasotec, which may drop pressures only 5 and 2. Calcium channel blockers, like Norvasc or Cardizem, 8 and 3–half of what the flax can do. Side effects include… Compare this list to the side effect of flax seeds–its pleasant nutty flavor.

During the six-month trial, there were strokes and heart attacks in both groups. Even if the flax seeds can cut risk in half, though, any avoidable risk is unacceptable. Isn’t high blood pressure just inevitable as we get older? No. The prevalence of hypertension does increase dramatically with age, but not for everyone. People who eat more plant-based diets or keep their salt intake low enough tend not to exhibit any change in blood pressure with advancing age. So, flax is great, but always better to prevent the disease in the first place.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to John and Anni Winings via Flickr.

Doctor's Note

And that’s not all flax can do. Check out:

Hibiscus tea may help with high blood pressure as well: Hibiscus Tea vs. Plant-Based Diets for Hypertension

Diet can also play an important role in preventing heart disease (One in a Thousand: Ending the Heart Disease Epidemic) and diabetes (Plant-Based Diets and Diabetes). In some cases diet can even reverse some of the worst ravages of high blood pressure: Kempner Rice Diet: Whipping Us Into Shape.

Do we need to be worried about cyanide in flax? My videos on that subject just came out: How Well Does Cooking Destroy the Cyanide in Flaxseeds? and Should We Be Concerned About the Cyanide from Flaxseed?

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

77 responses to “Flashback Friday: Flax Seeds for Hypertension

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  1. I was trying to find out if it was males or females or both in the study.

    Also, I was wondering about flax milk.

    I feel like I need help with plant milk now.

  2. Did I just miss it or did the study fail to mention just how much flax seeds were consumed daily in order to result in blood pressure drop? I am on BP meds and do eat flax seeds but not daily and perhaps not as large a quantity as I should be consuming. Also wonder if there is a difference in consuming them raw (ground) or cooked into whatever you are preparing. I find each blog, while helpful, never provides all of the answers.

    1. Links to the studies referenced in the video, can be found in the ‘sources cited’ drop-down box.

      In this prospective, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized trial, patients (110 in total) ingested a variety of foods that contained 30 g of milled flaxseed or placebo each day over 6 months”
      https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.113.02094?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3dpubmed

      1. Barb, thanks for that! I tried doing that this morning….cooking my steel cut oatmeal together with the ground flax instead of adding the flax at the end as usual and I did not like! It made the oatmeal very slimey. Will go back to doing it as usual which is cooking the oatmeal and then adding my flax, nuts and fruit.

        1. Lida, I hear you on the slime factor. There is zero appeal in flax seeds for me, though using a ‘flax egg’ is ok if a person had to do some baking. I don’t care for the strong taste of flax which is why they add sugars/molasses etc to products featuring ground flax. I use oat bran which ends up with a drier texture. I’ll have to try the steel cut oats some time.

  3. This is one study on those with peripheral artery disease, which is not mentioned and is an important detail. There is a meta analysis on flaxseed and blood pressure that looks at multiple studies and the results were 3.1 mmHg drop in systolic, 2.62 mmHg drop in diastolic if you take flaxseed for over 12 weeks. In this case, it seems Dr. Gregor is cherry picking the best results to make it look better than it is on average. The review was titled: “Effects of flaxseed supplements on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled clinical trial” Clinical Nutrition 35 (2016) 615-625. Normally I trust Dr. Gregor, but stuff like this makes me have to dig deeper to see if he is being fair.

    1. This video is about the effects of 30 g of milled flaxseeds taken over a period of 6 months.

      Your meta analysis on the other hand is about the effects of ‘various flaxseed products’ – including lignan extracts – of various amounts taken over various periods of time.

      TBH, it soesn’t sound like cherry-picking to me…

      1. If this video was on the Dodin et al study from the meta analysis. They took 40g of milled flaxseeds for 12 months and only saw a drop of 5mmHg on their Systolic blood pressure. Dr. Gregor picked this study over that one because it had better results. the Dodin et al study was for longer so arguably is more in line with Dr. Gregors recommendations to take flaxseed every day. The placebo in the dodin et al study was wheat germ, which seems similar enough to me to take out the placebo effect. It was also in menopausal women, not those with peripheral artery disease, which seems like less of a confounding diagnosis also.

        1. The study cited by Greger is about the effects of ground flaxseed ingestion on hypertension in hypertensive patients. The Dodin et al study is about the effects of flaxseed ingestion on lipid profile, bone mineral density and symptoms in post menopausal women.

          For people concerned about hypertension, I would think that the results of the study discussed in the video would be far more relevant than those in the Dodin et al study.

  4. 4 tbsp (1/4 cup) represents a lot of fat and calories. 37 cal per tbsp, and 3 gm of fat. Dr Ornish allows only 2 tsp on his program. I eat 1 tbsp per day and any more than that I have bleeding/bruising issues.

    https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3163/2

    1/2 muffin (who the heck can eat 1/2 muffin?) has 150 cal, . This product is $10 in our store here.
    https://flax4life.net/collections/muffins/products/carrot-raisin-muffins

    A package of organic ground flax, 300 gm, $5.50, would last 10 days at 1/4 cup /day rations. Not happening.

  5. Does flax seed oil also play a part in reducing blood pressure or only the seeds themselves?
    Will ground flax seed reduce BP as well as the whole seed?

    1. Arthur, this from Mayo Clinic:

      Most nutrition experts recommend ground over whole flaxseed because the ground form is easier to digest. Whole flaxseed may pass through your intestine undigested, which means you won’t get all the benefits.

    2. Hi Arthur Busby, thanks for your question. In this study indicates that For example, increasing the consumption of omega (ω)-3 fatty acids may be a particularly powerful dietary strategy to combat CAD (4,5).Flaxseed (linseed) was identified as an alternative plant source of ω-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed is one of the richest plant sources of the ω-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, C18:3 ω-3) (15), but it is found in other foods as well (Table 1). In this study the table list of food is as follows
      Source of ALA* ALA content, g
      Pumpkin seeds (1 tbsp) 0.051
      Olive oil (1 tbsp) 0.103
      Walnuts, black (1 tbsp) 0.156
      Soybean oil (1 tbsp) 1.231
      Rapeseed oil (1 tbsp) 1.302
      Walnut oil (1 tbsp) 1.414
      Flaxseeds (1 tbsp) 2.350
      Walnuts, English (1 tbsp) 2.574
      Flaxseed oil (1 tbsp) 7.249
      Almonds (100 g) 0.4
      Peanuts (100 g) 0.003
      Beans, navy, sprouted (100 g) 0.3
      Broccoli, raw (100 g) 0.1
      Lettuce, red leaf (100 g) 0.1
      Mustard (100 g) 0.1
      Purslane (100 g) 0.4
      Spinach (100 g) 0.1
      Seaweed, spirulina, dried (100 g) 0.8
      Beans, common, dry (100 g) 0.6
      Chickpeas, dry (100 g) 0.1
      Soybeans, dry (100 g) 1.6
      Oats, germ (100 g) 1.4
      Rice, bran (100 g) 0.2
      Wheat, germ (100 g) 0.7
      Avocados, California, raw (100 g) 0.1
      Raspberries, raw (100 g) 0.1
      Strawberries, raw (100 g) 0.1
      Novel sources of ALA† ALA content, g
      Breads and pasta (100 g) 0.1–1.6
      Cereals (and granola bars) (55 g) 1.0–4.9
      Eggs (50 g or 1 egg) 0.1–0.6
      Processed meats (100 g) 0.5
      Salad dressing (14 g – 31 g) 2.0–4.0
      Margarine spreads (10 g – 100 g) 0.3–1.0
      Nutrition bars (50 g) 0.1–2.2
      Open in a separate window
      1 tablespoon (tbsp) oil = 13.6 g; 1 tbsp seeds or nuts = 12.35 g.

      *Adapted from references 15 and 26;
      †Adapted from reference 27

      So in the table it shows ALA is higher the flax oil. However, whole food as Dr Greger points out has other components that provide further benefit. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2989356/

    3. Hi, Arthur! Consuming ground flax is much more effective and preferable to consuming flax oil. “The seeds are little nutrition powerhouses, and we lose much of the nutrition when we just press out the oil. Not only are flax seeds the richest source of lignans, they are a great source of iron, zinc, copper, calcium, protein, potassium, magnesium, folate, soluble fiber—which can lower our cholesterol and triglycerides—even boron, a trace mineral important for optimum bone health. We don’t get any of those, though, with just the flax seed oil. Another example of the importance of eating whole plant foods” (https://nutritionfacts.org/audio/just-the-flax/). Typically any processed food, especially oil, isn’t as nutritious as a whole-food (https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/oils/).

      Ground flax meal is preferable to the whole seeds as it is more easily digested and the nutrients are better absorbed.

  6. I am curious how to reconcile this video with his other recent video (May 13, 2019) that concludes that more than 2 tablespoons of flax a day could create issues with cyanide poisoning. I would love other’s thoughts!

    1. Julie,

      The cyanide poisoning didn’t come from 2 tablespoons.

      1/2 cup almost reached toxicity. Almost.

      I emphasize that Dr. Greger emphasized that they used the flax which tested the most cyanide and they processed it in a special way to get the highest possible cyanide. Most of the flax you would buy wouldn’t have as much cyanide as their test did and that still wasn’t closer to cyanide poisoning level until 1/2 cup. A whole cup did reach well into toxic levels, so don’t eat a full cup.

      Though, also remember that adding moisture and heating them destroys the cyanide in the first place, so baking goods or eating oatmeal or grinding them and rinsing them are ways of getting rid of the cyanide in the first place.

      1. Also, remember that not one human being has ever been hospitalized with cyanide poisoning from flaxseeds and people are doing studies with this much flax.

        They keep track of the sources of cyanide poisoning and bitter almonds and bitter apricot kernels have caused it, but flaxseed never did. Not even with these types of studies where people are eating so much of it.

        The fact that people often put it in things like oatmeal or baked goods makes cyanide a non-issue for most people.

          1. Julie,

            There is so much information that we need each other to keep track of it all.

            I find that watching the videos a few times and pausing at the graphs shown helps me remember more of the information, but it is so easy to miss things.

            Many of the people watched that specific video and came away not feeling safe and it may be partly because the graph didn’t have the words 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, etc. Dr. Greger said the words, but sometimes when the numbers we are looking at don’t match the numbers being said, it is easy to not process the information properly and I think that happened with a lot of people.

    1. Arthur,

      I looked at a study but they use a different oil as a control and, yes, you will have lower blood pressure taking flaxseed oil versus safflower oil, but that isn’t your question.

      Flaxseed has a lot of advantages over the oil. It doesn’t go rancid as fast, for instance. Dr. Greger spoke about it in his interview with Mic the Vegan.

    2. Hi, Arthur! Consuming ground flax is much more effective and preferable to consuming flax oil. “The seeds are little nutrition powerhouses, and we lose much of the nutrition when we just press out the oil. Not only are flax seeds the richest source of lignans, they are a great source of iron, zinc, copper, calcium, protein, potassium, magnesium, folate, soluble fiber—which can lower our cholesterol and triglycerides—even boron, a trace mineral important for optimum bone health. We don’t get any of those, though, with just the flax seed oil. Another example of the importance of eating whole plant foods” (https://nutritionfacts.org/audio/just-the-flax/). Typically any processed food, especially oil, isn’t as nutritious as a whole-food (https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/oils/).

  7. I add flax seed to any & all smoothies and start the day with either smoothie or oatmeal. The blender breaks the seed and isn’t slimy at all. Fruit smoothies taste the best but tomato, carrot juice, spinach, broccoli, flax, garlic & turmeric seem somehow healthier. I’m still stuck on 5mg Liscinopril even bike riding 125 mi or more per week. Am eating almost 100% whole plants and don’t know what else I can do to get off meds.

    1. First the food, have you watched the videos on wakame seaweed? blueberries (benefit only without dairy)? hibiscus tea? two cups of strong hibiscus tea every morning, Per Dr. Greger, using of 5 tea bags for those two cups of hibiscus tea, was as effective in lowering blood pressure as a starting dose of 25mg of captopril taken twice a day. Are you low sodium? Are you eating foods like beets and kale, which help with NO?

      If you are pretty sure you are doing enough dietarily:

      Massage and Acupuncture had studies with statistical significance.

      I just read a PEMF study, which used barely any PEMF at all and that started improving blood pressure.

      http://electromeds.com/pemf-education/high-blood-pressure/

      They only had the patients go through two 10 to 15-minute sessions per week. That is so little.

      The more I learn about PEMF, the more success I have seen with low power, long sessions. There are studies with that, but not for blood pressure.

      I was reading a study on fracture healings and there was 80-something percent success when people used a device for over 3 hours per day and only a 30-something percent success if they used it less than 3 hours per day.

      Have you tried device-guided breathing? There isn’t sufficient evidence for it, but industry studies showed positive results.

      I have a friend who swears by the device-guided breathing. Though certain types of breathers may not work. I had looked that up last week and I don’t remember the answer.

      1. I forgot to add the warning that if you choose hibiscus tea, which is a really good idea, don’t destroy your teeth.

        Use a straw.

        I did find some green tea/hibiscus a few months back and I am not sure whether the fact that green tea helps teeth and hibiscus harms it cancels each other out or not.

        But I did have the thought that I could drink hibiscus tea with a green tea chaser or water.

        You don’t want to leave it on your teeth. Using a straw is a strategy. Some of us don’t like using straws for hot drinks, but I started losing my teeth enamel and I haven’t had problems again since back then and it might have been a tiny switch in habits like green tea hibiscus or water after it that helped. Or not. I am still doing an endless N of 1. Hard to say what helped. I also went back on fluoride with enamel remineralization and something helped.

        I am a self-hacker and you won’t be able to figure anything out from me, because I just keep going until something works.

    2. Hi Bob, do you add beetroot (known as beet in the USA) to your veggie smoothies ? It boosts NO2 in the bloodstream which relaxes blood vessels, which has been shown to reduce blood pressure https://nutritionfacts.org/video/veg-table-dietary-nitrate-scoring-method/
      It will increase athletic performance so you may notice your cycling improves.
      My morning smoothie is beetroot, brocilli/spinach,blueberries, pineapple/kiwifruit/watermelon, freshly ground flaxseed, tumeric, black pepper, ginger. It is designed to get a whole bunch of Dr Greger’s most recommended foods in first thing, and the balance of half fruit/ half veg means it is a great flavour as well.

  8. My main concern is how to eat so much flax? Are there recipes, or tricks.
    I put flax in my oatmeal and don’t really mind the mentioned “slime factor”,
    it makes it easier to eat honestly.

    1. Bruce,

      First, do you have high blood pressure?

      If not, then perhaps back up to the prostate flax video and don’t try to mega-dose it and then, you can just add it to your oatmeal.

      I double the oatmeal to double the flax. (Some of us are fixing brain problems and I end up forgetting flax far too often, because I skip the oatmeal far too often, so sometimes I feel doubling the oatmeal and doubling the flax makes life balance out somehow.

      I also sometimes snack with Mary’s Gone Crackers, which has flax in it.

      But, yes, there are recipes. Some of the flax studies used muffins. So it is doable.

      To me, that is still a breakfast food, so it is steel cut oatmeal versus a muffin.

    2. bruce, you can substitute ground flaxseed for the flour in recipes. I make pancakes with ground flaxseed and almond flour. My kids love them. If you don’t want to start from scratch, get one of the better mixes, and just add your ground flaxseed. You’ll have to add a bit more water also to make the right batter consistency. Same with muffins.
      Can be added to bean or tomato soups also. Just start with a small amount, and work up the amount. I add some to my homemade apple cider vinegar salad dressing to thicken. I like mustard, so I also add that, plus spices, so the flax taste isn’t too much. Experiment to see what works for you.

  9. Hi Bruce K , thanks for your question. Dr Greger has Flax seed in his daily dozen list. He mentions to incorporate one tablespoon of ground flax seeds into your daily diet, in addition to a serving of nuts or other seeds. A quarter-cup of nuts is considered a serving, or two tablespoons of nut or seed butters, including peanut butter. (Chestnuts and coconuts, though, don’t nutritionally count as nuts.)
    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/dr-gregers-daily-dozen-checklist/

  10. My blood pressure If taken correctly varies from 110/67 to 118/72 I have spent over 75 years on this planet. When I was 40 my blood pressure was 140/90.
    I consume organic rolled oats with 2 tablespoons of freshly ground flaxseed 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon dash of pepper and a touch of salt.
    I have found Blueberries and Cherries most helpfull.

  11. Lida’s comment below took the words right out of my mouth—-love you Doc but a very important detail here went missing—especially after one of the most recent videos on the risk of cyanide poisoning with too much flax—which at the end of the video you say “I recommend one tablespoon” ( a day )–presumably in the video’s context to avoid cyanide poisoning—so again –if you’re going to give these wonderful benefits without the amount used to achieve the results-???–but of course and as always—much thanks Dr. Greger—just trying to make your already great videos even better

    1. John,

      The “risk” doesn’t start until 1/2 cup per day.

      But if you are worried, cooking gets rid of the cyanide risk.

      So put it in oatmeal or baked goods and you will be fine.

  12. I buy ground flax seed and keep it in the freezer. I think it is supposed to be fresh ground to get a benefit. I suspect I am getting at least some benefit from the pre ground flax.

    1. Dan, I buy ground flax seed too and also keep it in the freezer. I recall Dr Greger saying that you could keep ground flax on the kitchen counter for more than 6 months and it would be fine, no problems. Our store seems to sell a lot of ground flax, so it hasn’t been sitting around long.

  13. Hello. i have favism (i was born with favism). So i can’t eat fava beans.and i read that i shouldn’t eat any beans or lentils at all. Is that true? If so it would be very difficult for vegans. I don’t feel bad after eating beans and lentils but im afraid that will affect my Long term health. Can you share your opinion please?

    1. I am not connected with either Dr Greger or this site but the claim that people with favism shouldn’t eat any beans/lentisl etc at all is, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, quite false:

      ‘Another myth is that other beans can cause an attack of favism. This has led to clinical recommendations that patients avoid eating green peas, lupine beans, soybeans, many other types of beans, and derivatives thereof (see, for instance, http://www.g6pddeficiency.org). We now know that the concentrations of vicine and convicine are negligible in beans other than fava beans.42,43′
      https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMra1708111?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=r360

        1. I think I was very fascinated and following it all until about 20-something minutes in and then my brain started wanting to walk away.

          I guess now I have to see his research. I was open to it because of how effective PEMF has been for me, but he went from endlessly fascinating to “I just got internal red flag warning signals”

          I feel like I did when I looked at the book Dianetics, which felt like some joker trying to take advantage of how many people will be so busy looking every word up in the dictionary that they can’t follow the logic properly.

            1. He said sentences like “one root canal tooth shuts down 63% of your immune system.”

              And showed fungus growing at a certain voltage which he said cancer grows at. It was images of the cells.

              I will keep watching what he says and will try to learn the science from both directions and I am not going to be buying his multi-thousand dollar products, I already have a $650-ish PEMF, which has helped me.

              I just don’t understand the science of the electric part of our body.

              1. Thanks Deb.

                As far as I can make out, Tennant doesn’t “understand the science of the electric part of our body’either.

                There is undoubtedly something to this broad observation but expansive claims of miracle cures with simple devices or regimes unsupported by any evidence (except the personal testimony of the seller and a few devoted supporters) are probably too good to be true.

                That said, it has been observed over many years that electrical current applied in appropriate circumstance may speed healing eg

                https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190517173456.htm
                https://www.nature.com/articles/srep31724
                https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2017/5289041/
                https://journals.lww.com/jbjsjournal/Abstract/2008/11000/Electrical_Stimulation_for_Long_Bone.2.aspx

                1. Thanks, Tom!

                  I realized later what was missing in his presentation.

                  First, he tells a wildly fascinating story of what happened to himself.

                  But he missed entirely how he got fixed.

                  His brain story resonated because I genuinely lost brain function and I don’t share that part because it was so humiliating or is still humiliating. I said and did crazy things and believed crazy things. Utterly humiliating.

                  I point out some things just for example, then the list of what I have done to get my brain back is what comes next and he didn’t share even one sentence of that.

                  Then, later in his talk, he says sentences like emotions are ….. I can’t remember what he said they are, but he didn’t list a scientist who discovered it or a study which proved it.

                  Same with the getting one root canal lowers your immune system by 63%. That should have a scientist or a study or a microscope image.

                  The thing is that the device I use has a mechanism based on Faraday’s Law and has animal studies and small human studies and the researcher has tried to raise the money for big studies.

                  I know that it creates an electromagnetic field and I know there are mechanisms like lowering inflammation.

                  That man answers questions using analogyies and “warned” me that if I keep asking questions that he is going to start giving me the real science. He is someone who I do trust.

                  He could speak over my head, but he never does.

                  1. Thinking about my own brain breakdown, everything got profoundly linked together in my brain and I am wondering if smart doctors are going to wake up someday and say, “My brain broke down and I ended up believing all of these humiliating things and wrote a book and started getting invited to speak everywhere…”

                    1. I want to contact the man and ask,”Can you talk a little bit more about what happened after the infection jumped out of the person’s eye and went up your nose and destroyed your brain. That sounds like a pretty good story and it feels like you skipped something.

                      I am not kidding.

                      I watched a brain researcher who had a stroke TEDTalk and she left her analytical brain and found Nirvana and that was what she wanted to talk about and they gave her a TEDTalk for that, when my mind analyzes her experience and some people will have strokes and the part of the brain getting injured makes them say, “This is so cool” rather than “I am having a stroke”. There are two versions of her talk and in one the analysis is that everybody should spend more time in the other half of the brain or something like that.

      1. The US National Library of Medicine also advises avoiding

        “Antimalarial medicines such as quinine
        Aspirin (high doses)
        Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
        Quinidine
        Sulfa drugs
        Antibiotics such as quinolones, nitrofurantoin

        Other chemicals, such as those in mothballs, can also trigger an episode.”

        https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000528.htm

    2. Ali,

      Please see Mr Fumblefingers references below and note that your condition and response would, ” Depending on the specific mutation the severity of the condition may vary. Diagnosis is based on symptoms and supported by blood tests and genetic testing.”

      For more information also see:
      https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmXoypizjW3WknFiJnKLwHCnL72vedxjQkDDP1mXWo6uco/wiki/Glucose-6-phosphate_dehydrogenase_deficiency.html
      The key take away is “However, not all individuals with G6PD deficiency show favism. Favism is known to be more prevalent in infants and children, and G6PD genetic variant can influence chemical sensitivity. “

      It may be prudent to avoid the fava beans, especially with a known G6PDD mutation until you see a knowledgeable genetics counselor and get the full story, but don’t give up the other beans…..

      Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger http://www.Centerofhealth.com

  14. Deb or Fumblefingers
    What are your thoughts about golden flax vs the dark flax seeds. For a while the Golden sold out, then I read it didn’t matter which. I purchase every other purchase. I do consume daily in oatmeal. Thanks. Be well!

    Also I have my own ‘brain’ concerns which I attribute quicker recovery to wfpb. That’s for another day.

    1. Hi

      TBH I have never really looked into it in any detail. There are certainly nutritional differences (ALA, protein content etc) but this study suggested that the health effects are pretty similar:

      ‘The groups who consumed brown and golden flaxseed showed significant reduction in diastolic blood pressure. Brown and golden flaxseed did not differentially affect plasma lipid responses, plasma glucose and inflammatory profile, although all groups (BF, GF, and CG) showed increased levels of TNF-a.’
      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0899900714002688

  15. Mr Fumblefingers. Thanks for your input. I’ll continue what I’ve been doing but perhaps I will weigh the amount occasionally to see if I get 28 grams of flax meal.

    Nope. I just weighed out 28 grams and it’s about 1/3 cup of pre-ground flax meal. . Now I see why the youngsters didn’t consume that much in the study. I’ll stick with Dr. G amount and on occasion stir it into other food items. Or make my own kind of flax crackers. Thanks again.

    1. Ruthie,

      Tom already gave you the science answer.

      For almost everything at that point, I do alternate mostly based on microbiome diversity.

      That is when I know Colin says that people are off mark, but I vary what stores I buy organic produce from and which brands used. Staying organic but my focus is diversity in the microbiome.

      That is secondary to everything else, but I like doing it this way.

    2. I ended up reading what Canada versus North Dakota said and laughed.

      Yes, they both claim superiority.

      If Canada’s numbers are right, they might win slightly in Omega 3.

      Tom already showed that the biological effects were not all that different.

      In general, I do Dr Greger’s color concept.

      Black, purple, red, orange and yellow, white

      In that order.

      I never know what to do with brown.

      But Canada puts theirs under red/brown, so they get my systems little edge, but I do alternate and I do buy according to sales.

      Microbiome-wise, Canada might have the edge to me, where I tend to skip China and Mexico even if they say organic.

      Lately, I skip Japan, too.

      Nuclear.accidents, overuse of pesticides, poisonous water, lead and been burned too often by China are some of my thought processes which affect my process.

      When in doubt after that, there is a flip of a coin App.

  16. Thanks to Dr Greger for alerting us to this paper. However please tell people that this is an effect of antihypertensive drugs plus flax seed and not flax seed alone. I quote from the paper,
    “Approximately 80% of patients from both groups maintained the same dose of antihypertensive medication throughout the trial. Approximately 8% of those patients who ingested flaxseed decreased their dose of antihypertensive medications versus 3.5% in the placebo group. The presence of antihypertensive medication during the trial makes it impossible to conclusively determine if the effects of dietary flaxseed on BP were an independent antihypertensive action of flaxseed or because of a boosting of the effects of the medication. Further trials will be needed to clearly identify the independent BP-lowering action of flaxseed.”

  17. My question is in regard to bone health. I have been diagnosed with osteoporosis and have read that I should alkalize my body for pH balance of 7.4. I am still struggling with my diet but I have been eating more green vegetables and alkalizing foods. I check my pH every day but still have acidic readings most of the time. I have not yet tried alkalizing greens powder that can be added to smoothies. I am reading How Not To Die and starting to follow the your plant based diet recommendations. Would you recommend, along with the daily dozen, that I use alkalizing greens powder? If so, is there one that is better than others?

  18. Hi, Rosie! You can find everything on this site related to acid/base(alkaline) balance here: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/acidbase-balance/ Additionally, you can find everything on this site related to osteoporosis here: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/osteoporosis/ Additional material related to bone health is here: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/bone-health/
    With a whole food, plant-based diet, following the Daily Dozen, you should not need any green powders. In addition to a healthy, plant-based diet, the best things you can do for your bones are to avoid smoking, eat more if you are underweight, and engage in weight-bearing exercise on a regular basis. I hope that helps!

  19. Do you have any idea as to why consuming flax meal (ground flax seeds) can cause severe gas (to the point of going to the hospital)??
    I would love to see a video on this issue since I only know of one person (so far) who cannot have any flax seeds at all (even a tiny
    amount causes pain).

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