Some varieties of chia seeds can cause elevation of blood triglyceride levels. For this reason, WebMD recommends that people with elevated triglyceride levels use a chia variety called Salba, which does not affect blood triglyceride levels. Chia seeds can also cause an increase in flatulence.
Chia is an herb grown in Mexico since the Aztec civilization. Its seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fiber, both beneficial to cardiovascular health. People eat chia seeds for their nutritional value and to reduce the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Many use chia to aid weight loss and boost exercise performance. Preliminary studies suggest that a lotion containing oil from chia seeds may relieve itching skin.
As of June 2015, not enough scientific evidence exists to demonstrate that chia serves as an effective treatment for any medical condition. Research has not established appropriate dosages for chia or proven its safety for use as a medicine, although chia appears safe for short-term use. WebMD recommends taking chia by mouth for no more than 12 weeks and using skin applications for no more than eight weeks. WebMD also recommends that pregnant or breast-feeding women avoid using chia.
Chia is high in alpha-linolenic acid. As some research suggests a link between high dietary levels of alpha-linolenic acid and prostate cancer, men with prostate cancer or at high risk for prostate cancer should not use chia.