COMIT Study - Canola Oil & A Healthy Heart
By David (Shuaihua) Pu

The Canola Oil Multicenter Intervention Trial (COMIT), conducted from 2010 to 2013, was one of the biggest clinical trials conducted at the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals (RCFFN) to date. As the lead centre, the RCFFN collaborated with researchers at Laval University, the Pennsylvania State University and the University of Toronto, to address the significant knowledge gaps in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms and cardioprotective effects of consumption of five novel treatment oils.

Volunteers (n=130) with risk factors of metabolic syndrome completed the multicenter randomized double-blinded controlled trial which consisted of consuming weight-maintaining diets containing 5 different treatment oils in a random order. The five dietary oils (60 g per day) were 1) conventional canola oil; 2) high oleic canola oil; 3) DHA enriched high oleic canola oil; 4) flax/safflower oil blend, and 5) corn/safflower oil blend. Each phase was 29 days in duration and separated with 4-week washout intervals. The clinical trial was registered with (NCT01351012). More information about the clinical study can be found in the published peer-reviewed article [1].

In general, preliminary outcomes of all five dietary treatments appeared to reduce total cholesterol levels at the end of each dietary phase. The DHA enriched high oleic canola oil, a novel DHA-rich canola oil more significantly improved the cardiovascular profiles including elevated HDL-cholesterol (“good” cholesterol), decreased triglycerides, and reduced blood pressure, resulting in the greatest reduction in Framingham 10-year coronary heart disease scores compared with the other four oil treatments [2].

Canola Council of Canada, Flax Council of Canada, Agriculture and Agri Food Canada, Dow Agrosciences, Canada Research Chairs, and Western Grains Research Foundation collectively provided funding for this study through the Growing Forward program of Agriculture and Agri Food Canada.


1. Senanayake VK, Pu S, Jenkins DA, Lamarche B, Kris-Etherton PM, et al. (2014) Plasma fatty acid changes following consumption of dietary oils containing n-3, n-6, and n-9 fatty acids at different proportions: preliminary findings of the Canola Oil Multicenter Intervention Trial (COMIT). Trials 15: 136.

2. Jones PJ, Senanayake VK, Pu S, Jenkins DJ, Connelly PW, et al. (2014) DHA-enriched high-oleic acid canola oil improves lipid profile and lowers predicted cardiovascular disease risk in the canola oil multicenter randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr.