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Dietary flaxseed protects against ventricular arrhythmias and left ventricular dilation after a myocardial infarction

Parikh, Mihir, Raj, Pema, Austria, J. Alejandro, Yu, Liping, Garg, Bhavana, Netticadan, Thomas, Pierce, Grant N.
The Journal of nutritional biochemistry 2019 v.71 pp. 63-71
alpha-linolenic acid, arrhythmia, cardiac output, coronary vessels, death, dietary supplements, echocardiography, fibrosis, flax, heart, histology, infarction, lignans, linseed, linseed oil, myocardial infarction, omega-3 fatty acids, patients, rats, surgery, tumor necrosis factor-alpha
Dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) have been associated with a lower incidence of cardiovascular events and sudden cardiac death. Flaxseed is a rich plant source of n-3 PUFAs and can retard the progression and accelerate the regression of atherosclerotic plaques. The aim of the study was to examine the preventive and therapeutic effects of dietary flaxseed on arrhythmias and heart dysfunction that develops after a myocardial infarction (MI). The left anterior descending coronary artery was ligated in rats to induce the MI. Rats were randomized into five groups: sham MI with normal chow, MI with normal chow, MI with 10% milled flaxseed supplementation (flax), MI with 4.4% supplemented flax oil enriched in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and MI with flax lignan secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG) supplementation (0.44%). Animals were fed with their respective diets for 2 weeks before and for 8 weeks after the surgery. Echocardiography and continuous electrocardiographic recordings were obtained after ligation to confirm the induction of the MI, to check for arrhythmias and to assess cardiac function. Histological examination was also performed to evaluate cardiac fibrosis. Dietary supplementation with flaxseed, ALA or SDG before and after the induction of the MI significantly reduced the incidence of arrhythmias and resulted in significantly smaller infarct size, less left ventricle dilation, and decreased myocardial fibrosis and tumor necrosis factor-α levels compared to the control MI group. Together, this study supports a beneficial effect of dietary flaxseed in patients for the prevention and treatment of arrhythmias and ventricular remodeling post-MI.