Professor Emeritus

Vladimir Vuksan

Department of Nutritional Sciences


St. Michael's Hospital
61 Queen Street East, 6th Floor, Toronto, Ontario Canada M5C 2T2
Research Interests
dietary nitrates, ginseng, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dietary fibre, obesity


  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto (1988-1990)
  • PhD, Nutrition and Medicine, University of Zagreb (1978-1984)
  • MSc, Biochemistry and Food Technology, University of Zagreb (1975-1978)
  • BSc, Biochemistry and Food Technology, University of Zagreb (1969-1974)

Google Scholar

Other Academic Appointments

Professor, Department of Medicine, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto (2007 - present)

Research Scientist, Keenan Reseach Centre & Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael's Hospital (1999 - present)

Associate Director, Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre, St. Michael's Hospital (1997-present)

At a Glance

  • Dr. Vuksan's research program is focused on the development of novel therapies for modifiable, conventional, and emerging risk factors for diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, and those featuring the metabolic syndrome.

About Dr. Vladimir Vuksan

Dr. Vuksan is a Research Scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute and Associate Director of the Risk Factor Modification Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital and Professor at the University of Toronto in the Department of Nutritional Sciences. His research focuses on the development of novel nutritional therapies for modifiable, conventional, and emerging risk factors for diabetes mellitus (DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Over the past 20 years, his research has identified three therapies including a propriety blend of viscous fibre originating in Asia, an ancient whole grain used by the Aztec civilization, and various types of ginseng roots and their chemical fractions. Preliminary data from these studies have demonstrated that when taken either alone or in combination with conventional medicine and lifestyle changes, these novel therapies effectively improve glycemic control, reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, arterial stiffness, low-grade body inflammation, improved fibrinolysis, as well as reduced appetite. Dr. Vuksan currently holds a grant from the Canadian Diabetes Association to study the effects of combining all three therapies as a complementary strategy for controlling cardiovascular risk factors in Type 2 Diabetes. Dr. Vuksan also holds grants from the National Institute of Horticultural and Herbal Sciences of Korea, Ministry of Research and Innovation, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and many more.

Dr. Vuksan has an extensive track record of publications with an H-factor score of over 40. Additionally, he has served on numerous professional committees, including the Diabetes and Nutrition Study Group (DNSG) of the Nutrition of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), National Health Product Research Society of Canada, Canadian Diabetes Association Peer Review Committee, Health Canada Expert Panel for the Regulation of Novel Food Status, and many more. In 2010, Dr. Vuksan was awarded the Charles H. Best Award presented by the Canadian Diabetes Association in recognition of outstanding research achievements and success in translating findings into practical applications for people with diabetes. Dr. Vuksan is also the recipient of the World Ginseng Science Award in recognition of his work in diabetes management through nutrition and natural health products, and the Graduate Teaching Award presented by the University of Toronto.

Research Synopsis

Co-administration of three complementary therapies (viscous dietary fiber, whole grain and ginseng) for comprehensive risk reduction in Type 2 Diabetes

Despite the availability of multiple medications for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, patients often continue to have difficulty attaining blood glucose targets. Research by Dr. Vuksan's group and others support the benefits of whole grains, viscous dietary fiber and ginseng in the management of diabetes. Dr. Vuksan's current study investigates whether the coadministration of a viscous dietary fiber blend, Salba, a grain rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and 2 varieties of ginseng roots will further improve blood sugar control and cardiovascular risk outcomes in individuals with type 2 diabetes already receiving conventional treatments targeted to reduce cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk factors.

Effect of dietary fiber-gel foods on weight loos, glycemic control, and cardiovascular risk factors: A randomized controlled trial in individuals with overweight and/or obesity and type 2 diabetes

Most people living with diabetes also have excess weight, which complicates diabetes management. Konjac fiber gel is a traditionally consumed food in Asia that is gaining rapid popularity for weight loss. It is made from the konjac plant and has negligible calories as it is comprised of 97% water and 3g of fiber. Dr. Vuksan's preliminary research shows that konjac fibre can also lower blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure. The current trial proposes to conduct the first weight loss study to test whether konjac-gel foods can reduce and then sustain lower body weight and improve diabetes control in overweight people with diabetes.

The effect of dietary nitrate on blood pressure and vascular function: A randomized, controlled trial in individuals with prehypertension and hypertension

Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Canada, where blood pressure management is a chief target for minimizing cardiovascular disease risk. Research suggests that blood pressure response may be highly correlated with nitrite concentrations and mediated by up-regulation of nitric oxide bioavailability. A number of human intervention trials have found directs effects of dietary nitrate ingestion on blood pressure and endothelial function and accumulating evidence suggests that dietary nitrate supplementation at doses commonly found in vegetable rich diets have the potential for clinically significant vascular benefits. This trial will aim to assess the effect of administering a high-nitrate vegetable intervention for 3 months, compared to a low nitrate vegetable control, on blood pressure in individuals with elevated blood pressure.

Salba weight loss

The prevalence of obesity continues to rise worldwide as does the incidence of type 2 diabetes. Current pharmacological therapies aimed at weight loss are limited in efficacy and hindered by significant adverse effects. Salvia hispanica L (Salba-chia), an ancient grain used as food and remedy by the ancient Aztec civilization, is one of the highest whole food sources of dietary fiber and α-linolenic fatty acids (ALA) per total fat, exceptionally rich in minerals, and a good source of protein. A preliminary study by Dr. Vuksan's group demonstrated that supplementing 37g/day of Salba-chia added to an isocaloric diet to maintain body weight over 3- months, improved major and emerging CVD risk factors in type 2 diabetes suggesting its cardio protective potential. A subsequent study by their group demonstrated that Salba-chia acutely reduced postprandial glycemia when added to a meal and prolonged satiety, suggesting a possible mechanism of action for the glycemic control seen in the 3-month study. Therefore, the objective of the current study is to determine whether 6-month dietary incorporation of Salba-chia will induce a significant weight reduction in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Systematic review & meta-analysis series of viscous soluble fibres on various risk factors for cardiovascular disease

Viscous soluble fibres as part of a healthy diet may provide protection against cardiovascular disease risk factors. The effect of fiber intake on cholesterol levels have been known for decades and recognized in the form of health claims by many health authorities around the world. Increasing evidence is also emerging relating viscous soluble fibres and glycemic control, blood pressure as well as other emerging cardiovascular disease risk factor. However, clinical trials of fibre supplementation have shown wide variation. Therefore, a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials will be conducted to synthesize the evidence of the effect of individual viscous soluble fibres and several cardiovascular disease risk factors.

Recent Awards and Distinctions (Selected)

Award for International Collaboration, Croatian Society for Diabetes, Metabolic Disease & Croatian Medical Association (2015)

Expert Witness on the Increasing Incidence of Obesity in Canada, Canadian Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology (2015)

Recent Publications

  1. Jovanovski E, Nguyen M, Kurahashi Y, Komishon A, Li D, Hoang Vi Thanh H, Khayyat R, Jenkins AL, Khan TA, Zurbau A, Sievenpiper J, Vuksan V. Are all fibres created equal with respect to lipid lowering? Comparing the effect of viscous dietary fibre to non-viscous fibre from cereal sources: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Br J Nutr. 2022 Aug 5:1-13. doi: 10.1017/S0007114522002355. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35929339.
  2. Jovanovski E, Smircic-Duvnjak L, Komishon A, Au-Yeung FR, Sievenpiper JL, Zurbau A, Jenkins AL, Sung MK, Josse R, Li D, Vuksan V. Effect of coadministration of enriched Korean Red Ginseng (Panax ginseng) and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L) on cardiometabolic outcomes in type-2 diabetes: A randomized controlled trial. J Ginseng Res. 2021 Sep;45(5):546-554. doi: 10.1016/j.jgr.2019.11.005. Epub 2019 Nov 14. PMID: 34803424; PMCID: PMC8587487.
  3. Zurbau A, Smircic Duvnjak L, Magas S, Jovanovski E, Miocic J, Jenkins AL, Jenkins DJA, Josse RG, Leiter LA, Sievenpiper JL, Vuksan V. Co-administration of viscous fiber, Salba-chia and ginseng on glycemic management in type 2 diabetes: a double-blind randomized controlled trial. Eur J Nutr. 2021 Sep;60(6):3071-3083. doi: 10.1007/s00394-020-02434-7. Epub 2021 Jan 24. PMID: 33486572.
  4. Zurbau A, Au-Yeung F, Blanco Mejia S, Khan TA, Vuksan V, Jovanovski E, Leiter LA, Kendall CWC, Jenkins DJA, Sievenpiper JL. Relation of Different Fruit and Vegetable Sources With Incident Cardiovascular Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies. J Am Heart Assoc. 2020 Oct 20;9(19):e017728. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.120.017728. Epub 2020 Oct 1. PMID: 33000670; PMCID: PMC7792377.
  5. Li D, Nishi SK, Jovanovski E, Zurbau A, Komishon A, Mejia SB, Khan TA, Sievenpiper JL, Milicic D, Jenkins A, Vuksan V. Repeated administration of inorganic nitrate on blood pressure and arterial stiffness: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Hypertens. 2020 Nov;38(11):2122-2140. doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000002524. PMID: 32723980.
  6. Vuksan V, Sievenpiper JL, Jovanovski E, Jenkins AL, Komishon A, Au-Yeung F, Zurbau A, Ho HVT, Li D, Smircic-Duvnjak L. Effect of soluble-viscous dietary fibre on coronary heart disease risk score across 3 population health categories: data from randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2020 Jul;45(7):801-804. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2019-0728. Epub 2020 Mar 26. PMID: 32213141.
  7. Jovanovski E, Mazhar N, Komishon A, Khayyat R, Li D, Blanco Mejia S, Khan T, Jenkins AL, Smircic-Duvnjak L, Sievenpiper JL, Vuksan V. Effect of viscous fiber supplementation on obesity indicators in individuals consuming calorie-restricted diets: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Eur J Nutr. 2021 Feb;60(1):101-112. doi: 10.1007/s00394-020-02224-1. Epub 2020 Mar 20. PMID: 32198674.
  8. Jovanovski E, Lea-Duvnjak-Smircic, Komishon A, Au-Yeung F, Zurbau A, Jenkins AL, Sung MK, Josse R, Vuksan V. Vascular effects of combined enriched Korean Red ginseng (Panax Ginseng) and American ginseng (Panax Quinquefolius) administration in individuals with hypertension and type 2 diabetes: A randomized controlled trial. Complement Ther Med. 2020 Mar;49:102338. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2020.102338. Epub 2020 Feb 12. PMID: 32147072.
  9. Jovanovski E, Mazhar N, Komishon A, Khayyat R, Li D, Blanco Mejia S, Khan T, L Jenkins A, Smircic-Duvnjak L, L Sievenpiper J, Vuksan V. Can dietary viscous fiber affect body weight independently of an energy-restrictive diet? A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2020 Feb 1;111(2):471-485. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqz292. PMID: 31897475.
  10. Bulum T, Vučić Lovrenčić M, Tomić M, Vučković-Rebrina S, Roso V, Kolarić B, Vuksan V, Duvnjak L. Serum adipocytokines are associated with microalbuminuria in patients with type 1 diabetes and incipient chronic complications. Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2019 Jan-Feb;13(1):496-499. doi: 10.1016/j.dsx.2018.11.001. Epub 2018 Nov 3. PMID: 30641752.

In the News

Soluble fiber may improve diabetes control. Reuters. January 24, 2019.

Current Lab Members (within the Department of Nutritional Sciences)

Dandan Li - PhD student