A new study from the University of Eastern Finland suggests overall cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels in people with impaired glucose metabolism may be reduced by introducing Camelina oil into their diet.

The study, published in the Journal of Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, looked at the association between eating fatty fish, lean fish, camelina oil and low grade inflammation and glucose metabolism.

Camelina oil is a rich source of alpha linolenic acid – an Omega3 fatty acid. Previous studies have shown that long chain Omega3 fatty acids that are found in fish and fish protein can have beneficial effects on risk factors that are associated with cardiovascular diseases. Research evidence on the impact of alpha linolenic acid on these risk factors is scarce. But it seems Camelina’s alpha linolenic acid (ALA) is directly responsible – apparently better than fish sources – for lowering blood cholesterol. Notably, 94 percent of the fatty acids in Camelina oil are unsaturated and 38 percent of them are ALAs. Other oilseeds such as canola, for example, contain just 6.6 percent ALA. Sunflower contains zero ALAs.

In all, 79 men and women between the ages of 40 and 72 with impaired fasting glucose concentrations were involved in the Finnish study. Participants were randomly divided into four groups: a fatty fish group, a lean fish group, the Camelina oil group, and a control group. Participants ate either lean or fatty fish four times a week, or took a 30ml dose of camelina oil daily for a period of 12 weeks. Participants in the control group were allowed to consume fish once a week but taking Camelina oil or oils that contained alpha linolenic acid were strictly prohibited.

The researchers reported that Camelina oil had a positive effect on the blood cholesterol levels, but there were no similar effects found in the groups that ate lean or fatty fish. No significant differences were noted in low grade inflammation or glucose metabolism between all the groups.

Summary from the University of Eastern Finland.

See this story by K. Aleisha Fetters in US News and World Report