A study by Helen Wong, R.D., of The Hospital for Sick Children, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues examined the safety and efficacy of dietary flaxseed supplementation in the management of hypercholesterolemia (high levels of cholesterol) in children.

The randomized clinical trial included 32 participants ages 8 to 18 years with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels ranging from 135 mg/dL to less than 193 mg/dL. Participants were randomly assigned to either the or control group. The intervention group ate 2 muffins and 1 slice of bread daily containing flaxseed (30 grams flaxseed total). The control group ate muffins and bread substituted with whole-wheat flour.

According to the study results, flaxseed had no significant effects on total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels or total caloric intake. The change in total and low-density lipoprotein failed to exclude a potential benefit of flaxseed supplementation based on a prespecified minimum clinically important reduction of 10 percent.

"Until its relevance is clearly understood, flaxseed supplementation remains an unverified strategy for the clinical management of in youth with hyperlipidemia," the study concludes.

More information: JAMA Pediatr. Published online June 3, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.1442