Flaxseeds are said to be rich in different nutrients such as protein, minerals, vitamins, and fiber. Scientists have proven that eating these seeds regularly cannot only fight inflammation but also manage cholesterol.
In a new study, the scientists belonging to Sweden and Denmark found that these seeds can ferment inside the gut affecting the microbiota. This process can, in turn, have a positive effect on your metabolic health and may provide protection against obesity.
The findings of this study are present in the American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology, and Metabolism.
Exploring the Benefits of Flaxseeds
Flaxseeds are said to be rich in fiber. Once they reach your gut, they immediately undergo fermentation i.e. breakdown of the fiber content. This may be particularly useful for the microbiome and, in turn, your metabolic health.
However, very little research has been published regarding how the flaxseed fiber can affect fermentation in the gut. This study was directed at filling this gap.
To accomplish this, the scientists used mice models divided into four experimental groups. Each group was provided with one of the following four diets:
- A no-fiber, high-fat diet – known as the “high-fat diet”
- A standard diet comprising of 4.6 percent fiber derived from soy- known as the “control diet”
- A high-fat diet containing 10 percent of indigestible cellulose fiber- “the cellulose diet”
- A high-fat diet having 10 percent of flaxseed fiber- “the flaxseed diet”
In order to explore the metabolic changes occurring in the experimental rodents feeding on different diets, the scientists monitored the total amount of oxygen used by the animals, the total carbon dioxide they release, the quantity of food and water they consumed, and the total energy they used.
At the end of the study, the researchers also checked the glucose levels of the rodents.
Improving Glucose and Reducing Obesity
After feeding each group their respective diets for over 12 weeks, the scientists withdrew samples of ceca i.e. the initial segment of the large intestine. This was to check their microbiome and to investigate the presence of any other biological products.
As compared to the mice belonging to other groups, the ones consuming a high-fat diet were found to have low levels of gut bacteria with better metabolic health, high amounts of bacteria linked with obesity, and lesser levels of good fatty acids.
The mice eating flaxseed or cellulose diet had a broader bacterial diversity and a greater healthy balance at the end of the study.
The rodents in the flaxseed group were also found to be more active and had less weight gain as compared to the rodents of other groups.
While investigating the contents of ceca taken from the rodents, the scientists noticed how the gut bacteria is involved in breaking the fibers found in the shells of flaxseeds. As a consequence, these bacteria release more healthy fatty acids and improve health.
The scientists have mentioned how further research is needed to understand the participation of various microbes and to find the underlying mechanisms how flaxseed fiber impacts the metabolism.