Flaxseed Lignans

Flaxseed of Linum usitatissimum is rich source of phenolic compounds called lignans which are phytoestrogenic in nature and have hormone-like effects on the body. These lignans contain alpha-linolenic acid or ALA which is a building block of omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed lignans are known reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, help with some aspects of diabetes, and affect the menstrual cycle and menopausal symptoms

Flaxseed Lignans and Cancer

Many studies are being conducted to investigate flaxseed for its anti-cancer properties. Here are some benefits of flaxseed for Cancer patients:

  • Many laboratory studies show that flaxseed may stop the growth and metastasis of the following cancers:
    • Breast Cancer 
    • Prostate Cancer 
    • Melanoma
  • In animal studies, flaxseed shows signs of reducing lung damage due to radiation and improves survival.
  • In human studies, flaxseed lowered the biomarkers in the following cases:
    • Male patients with prostate cancer
    • Female patients with breast cancer

References & More information

  1. Credit: Beyond Conventional Care Therapies
  2. ZenOnco.io Integrative Oncology Cancer Care
  3. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: Flaxseed.
  4. Chen J, Stavro PM, Thompson LU. Dietary flaxseed inhibits human breast cancer growth and metastasis and downregulates expression of insulin-like growth factor and epidermal growth factor receptor. Nutrition & Cancer. 2002;43:187-92.
  5. Lee J, Cho K. Flaxseed sprouts induce apoptosis and inhibit growth in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells. In Vitro Cell Dev Biol Anim. 2012 Apr;48(4):244-50.
  6. Lin X, Gingrich JR, Bao W, Li J, Haroon ZA, Demark-Wahnefried W. Effect of flaxseed supplementation on prostatic carcinoma in transgenic mice. Urology 2002;60:919-24.
  7. Yan L, Yee JA, Li D, McGuire MH, Thompson LU. Dietary flaxseed supplementation and experimental metastasis of melanoma cells in mice. Cancer Letters. 1998;124:181-6.
  8. Christofidou-Solomidou M, Tyagi S, Tan KS, et al. Dietary flaxseed administered post thoracic radiation treatment improves survival and mitigates radiation-induced pneumonopathy in mice. BMC Cancer. 2011 Jun 24;11:269.
  9. Demark-Wahnefried W, Price DT, Polascik TJ, Robertson CN, Anderson EE, Paulson DF et al. Pilot study of dietary fat restriction and flaxseed supplementation in men with prostate cancer before surgery: exploring the effects on hormonal levels, prostate-specific antigen, and histopathologic features. Urology 2001;58:47-52.
  10. Demark-Wahnefried W, Polascik TJ, George SL, et al. Flaxseed supplementation (not dietary fat restriction) reduces prostate cancer proliferation rates in men presurgery. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2008 Dec;17(12):3577-87.
  11. Thompson LU, Chen JM, Li T, Strasser-Weippl K, Goss, PE. Dietary flaxseed alters tumor biological markers in postmenopausal breast cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 2005;11(10):3828-3835.
  12. Di Y, Jones J, Mansell K, et al. Influence of flaxseed lignan supplementation to older adults on biochemical and functional outcome measures of inflammation. J Am Coll Nutr. Nov-Dec 2017;36(8):646-653.
  13. Ursoniu S, Sahebkar A, Andrica F, Serban C, Banach M; Lipid and Blood Pressure Meta-analysis Collaboration (LBPMC) Group. Effects of flaxseed supplements on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled clinical trial. Clin Nutr. 2016 Jun;35(3):615-25.
  14. Javidi A, Mozaffari-Khosravi H, Nadjarzadeh A, et al. The effect of flaxseed powder on insulin resistance indices and blood pressure in prediabetic individuals: A randomized controlled clinical trial. J Res Med Sci. 2016;21:70.
  15. Caligiuri SP, Aukema HM, Ravandi A, et al. Flaxseed consumption reduces blood pressure in patients with hypertension by altering circulating oxylipins via an alpha-linolenic acid-induced inhibition of soluble epoxide hydrolase. Hypertension. Jul 2014;64(1):53-59.
  16. Andrea S. Blevins Primeau, PhD, MBA. Flaxseed Lignans and Cancer. Cancer Therapy Advisor. February 08, 2018.
  17. About Herbs: Flaxseed
  18. Livestrong: The Dangers of High Lignan Flax Oil

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