Natural Flaxseed (Linseed) may Reduce Cancer Growth, Osteoporosis, Diabetes Heart Disease, Postmenopausal Hot Flashes
There are two major types of omega-3 fatty acids in our diets: One type is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in some vegetable oils, such as soybean, rapeseed (canola), and flaxseed, and in walnuts. ALA is also found in some green vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, and salad greens. The other type, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), is found in fatty fish. The body partially converts ALA to EPA and DHA.We do not know whether vegetable or fish omega-3 fatty acids are equally beneficial, although both seem to be beneficial.
Flaxseed (linseed), which has a traditional use in many countries, provides a suitable alternative source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALNA) if it is ground shortly before consumption. Storage of the oil requires refrigeration.fish or fish oil provides any benefit which cannot be obtained from plant-based ALNA, or perhaps even from antioxidants.So researchers recommending fish should be amended to recommend fish or a plant source of ALNA on an equal basis.
Flaxseeds are an excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. They are a very good source of dietary fiber and manganese. They are also a good source of folate and vitamin B6 as well as the minerals magnesium, phosphorous, and copper. In addition, flax seeds are concentrated in lignan phytonutrients.Flaxseed meal and flour provides a very good source of fiber.
Flaxseed oil, also called linseed oil, has many industrial uses. Flaxseed oil also comes in an edible form. Like olive, canola, and most other plant oils, flaxseed is highly unsaturated and heart-healthy. And flaxseeds are rich in yet another very interesting component—lignans—which may have anti-cancer properties.Lignans and other flaxseed components may also have antioxidant properties.
Against the growth of tumor /cancer:
According to a study led by Duke University Medical Center researchers shown that flaxseed, an edible seed which is similar to a sesame seed, may be able to interrupt the chain of events that leads cells to divide irregularly and become cancerous.One reason could be that as a source of omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed can alter how cancer cells lump together or cling to other body cells, both factors in how fast cancer cells proliferate. Anothercould be; lignans may have antiangiogenic properties, meaning they are able to choke off a tumor's blood supply, stunting its growth.
Clinical studies by other researchers have suggested that dietary fiber reduces cancer risk, and omega-3 fatty acids also have shown a protective benefit against cancer. Flaxseed is the richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids and is high in fiber. Also, flaxseed is a source of lignan, a specific family of fiber-related compounds that appear to play a role in influencing both estrogen and testosterone metabolism.Testosterone may be important in the progression of prostate cancer, and lignan in the flaxseed binds testosterone, so we thought the flaxseed might suppress the growth of prostate cancer cells.
Soybeans—as well as many other plants like flaxseed, certain grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables—contain chemicals called phytoestrogens that mimic estrogen in the body. These estrogen-like qualities, coupled with the lower rates of breast cancer observed in countries with high soy intake, have created much controversy about the potential role of soy in the prevention and promotion of breast cancer.
For healing osteoporosis and strengthen bone:
According to a team of Penn State researchers Plant-based omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) may have a protective effect on bone health.Blood tests screened for two biological markers of bone health, one that indicates bone formation and one that indicates bone resorption or breakdown. Throughout life, two different types of cells -- osteoblasts and osteoclasts -- constantly build and break down bone. In this process they produce chemicals that researchers can measure in the blood. This process allows broken bones to heal, and bones to remain strong, but if more bone is lost than is rebuilt, osteoporosis occurs.
The biomarker for bone resorption, N-telopeptides, decreased significantly during the ALA diet and marginally during the LA diet compared to the average American diet.
Heart healthy plant seed flaxseed:
Study in the Harvard investigation linking nut consumption to a reduced risk of heart disease, Albert says alpha-linolenic acid, a component of nuts, may protect the heart by preventing a rhythm disturbance called ventricular fibrillation that causes sudden death.
Several prospective studies have found an inverse association between the intake of a-linolenic acid, (high in flaxseed, canola and soybean oils), and risk of fatal coronary heart disease. A study of 3.5 years of follow-up, the group that received fish oil had a 20% reduction in total mortality, a 30% reduction in cardiovascular death and a 45% decrease in sudden death.Flax may also lessen the severity of diabetes by stabilizing blood-sugar levels.
Flaxseeds are also a good source of magnesium, which helps to reduce the severity of asthma by keeping airways relaxed and open, lowers high blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke in people with atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease, prevents the blood vessel spasm that leads to migraine attacks, and generally promotes relaxation and restores normal sleep patterns.
Postmenopausal hot flashes :
Flaxseed may be one way to reduce the bothersome hot flashes of menopause, Mayo Clinic researchers report.A small pilot study found that postmenopausal women not on estrogen who used dietary flaxseed daily reported a 50 percent reduction in hot flashes over the course of six weeks.
"Flaxseed worked very well," said Dr. Sandhya Pruthi, director of the Mayo Breast Clinic at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. "The women who used it said it really helped them."But another expert, Dr. Wulf H. Utian, executive director of the North American Menopause Society, cautioned that the study was too preliminary to prove that flaxseed is effective.
While hormone replacement therapy, particularly estrogen, is effective against hot flashes, its long-term use has fallen out of favor since the large study known as the Women's Health Initiative found an increased risk of heart disease, breast cancer and other problems with long-term HRT use. So, Pruthi and her team were looking at options for women who suffered from hot flashes but didn't want to take estrogen.
They enrolled 29 postmenopausal women, median age 55, in the study. To join, the women had to have at least 14 hot flashes a week for at least one month.
"Flaxseed has some natural phytoestrogens," Pruthi said, explaining how it, like the hormone estrogen, could possibly have an effect on hot flashes.Over the course of the study, the women sprinkled 40 grams of crushed flaxseed daily into yogurt or cereal or mixed it with orange juice or water.
In the end, 21 women completed the study; others had dropped out because of side effects. Of those who finished, the researchers said, the frequency of hot flashes declined 50 percent, and the hot flash score -- a combined measure of a flash's severity and frequency -- was found to have decreased about 57 percent.
"By the second or third week, most women noticed improvement," Pruthi said, adding that she is now planning a larger study to compare flaxseed to a placebo.
Until those results are in, Utian is not convinced the flaxseed is a proven treatment for hot flashes."This reduction [in the pilot study] could fall into the placebo effect," he said.
The study was also relatively brief, he added. And many women experiencing menopause suffer many more hot flashes than 14 a week. (Fifteen of the Mayo study women reported 10 or more a week, but 13 reported 2 to 9 a week.)
Utian added, however, that he was not aware of any harm in eating flaxseed.And Pruthi said that because the fiber content gave some women in the study abdominal discomfort, those that find it hard on the stomach should consider starting at a lower dose and working up.
Choice of flaxseed; ground or whole?
Most nutrition experts recommend ground flaxseed because your body is better able to digest it. Whole flaxseed may pass through your intestine undigested, which means you won't get the health benefits of flaxseed.You can purchase raw flaxseed in bulk — whole or ground — at many grocery stores and health food stores. Whole seeds can be ground in a coffee grinder and then stored in an airtight container for several months.