Platelet hyper-aggregation is a serious manifestation of type 2 diabetes and a precipitating factor in the most frequent cause of death in type 2 diabetes-myocardial infarction. Consumption of flaxseed oil as a dietary supplement containing alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, 18:3 n-3) through its metabolism to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5 n-3) and subsequent production of anti-aggregatory eicosanoids may reduce such aggregation in vivo
. Lp (a) may also influence platelet aggregation in vivo
. Furthermore, serum Lp(a) concentrations are increased and bleeding time is decreased in type 2 diabetics presenting an enhanced risk of myocardial infarction. It was hypothesised that Lp(a) and bleeding time would be correlated due to the considerable molecular homology between apolipoprotein (a) and plasminogen which should decrease bleeding time. Bleeding time is an excellent measure of in vivo
platelet aggregability. One purpose of this study was to determine the impact flaxseed oil consumption on bleeding time compared to those on safflower oil and to determine the impact of Lp(a) on bleeding time. It was a secondary purpose to determine if there were any gender differences pre- or pre-post treatment in bleeding time. Subjects (N = 40) were randomly divided to take either the treatment, flaxseed oil (N = 20) or the placebo, safflower oil (N = 20). Each of the treatment or placebo groups contained equal numbers of males (N = 10) and females (N = 10). Some subjects dropped from the study due to reasons not related to treatment side effects. Subjects came for 3 visits, each 3 months apart. On each visit age, gender and BMI were recorded and bleeding time was performed. At the completion of visit 2, subjects were randomly assigned to take 1 gram of oil per 10 kg body weight each day for 3 months. Comparing pre- and post-treatment, there was a statistically significant increase in bleeding time in the flaxseed oil group including each of males and females while there was no change in the safflower group in total or by gender. Males had a statistically shorter bleeding time pre-treatment while males and females showed no difference post-treatment with flaxseed oil consumption. Males and females showed a non-significant correlation and statistically significant correlation respectively between pre-treatment values for Lp(a) and bleeding time. The statistically significant correlation also held for the whole population though at a lower value than females. It is concluded that flaxseed oil consumption has a statistically significant effect on slowing bleeding time thus likely reducing the risk of myocardial infarction and that such effect is more profound in males than females suggesting a greater efficacy of flaxseed oil administration for type 2 diabetic males. It is concluded that type 2 diabetic females take better advantage of elevated Lp(a) concentrations than do males thus, at least in part rendering the impact of flaxseed oil on bleeding time greater in males.
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