Common Names

  • Chia
  • Salba

For Patients & Caregivers

Chia may have some nutritional benefits, but it has not been shown to treat or prevent cancer. More research is necessary.

The seeds of Chia plant are rich in fiber and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of essential fatty acid. They are thought to be useful for weight loss and reducing risk of heart disease. Data from human studies showed that Chia seeds may help to regulate blood sugar but do not affect weight loss. Oil from Chia seeds demonstrated anticancer effects in labs but this has not been shown in humans.

  • Weight Loss
    Results from a clinical trial showed that Chia did not affect weight loss. More studies are needed.
  • Cardiovascular Health
    Chia may benefit individuals at increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Chia seeds may increase the adverse effects of prescription drugs for blood sugar and for blood pressure. Patients using these medications should speak to a physician before using Chia supplements.
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For Healthcare Professionals

Salvia hispanica

The seeds of Chia plant, which is native to Central and South America, have been consumed as food since ancient times. They are high in dietary fiber, n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and have been used as dietary supplements for cardiovascular health and for weight loss.

Chia seeds were shown to prevent onset of dyslipidemia (1) (6), reverse insulin resistance (1), and confer cardio- and hepatoprotective effects in obese mice (7). However, Chia did not benefit overweight adults in clinical studies (3), but may help patients with type 2 diabetes (4). Further research is needed.

Chia seeds demonstrated anti-cancer properties (2) in mice, but human studies have not been conducted.

  • Weight loss

The beneficial effects of Chia seeds may be due to complex carbohydrates, vegetable protein, n-3 PUFAs, dietary fiber, minerals, antioxidants, and their combined effects. Further studies are needed to isolate the components responsible for such effects.

  • May potentiate the effects of anti-diabetic medications.
  • May increase the effects of antihypertensive medications.
  • High amounts of n-3 PUFAs could lead to altered bleeding and clotting times (5).
  • May reduce blood sugar levels.

  1. Nieman DC, Cayea EJ, Austin MD, et al. Chia seed does not promote weight loss or alter disease risk factors in overweight adults. Nutr Res. Jun 2009;29(6):414-418.

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