Flax Answers - Flax Seed & Lignans

golden flaxseed lignans

Flax seed contains up to 800 times the amount of lignan content

Lignans are a type of natural plant chemical (scientifically known as a phytochemical) contained within the cell matrix of the flaxseed.

Basically, lignans are considered to act as plant hormones. When bacteria in the digestive tract act on plant lignans, these compounds are converted into potent, hormone-like substances (known as a phytoestrogenic compound).

The promising evidence surrounding the dietary benefits of consuming food with high lignan content revolves around the low incidence of breast, colon and prostate cancers found with those people who regularly eat food with a high lignan content. Research findings are concluding that the chemical release of these plant hormones in the body, are able to block the action of certain cancer-causing substances.

Researchers believe these plant hormones mimic the body’s own estrogen type of cells and can block the formation of hormone-based tumors or growths. Unlike the hormones produced in the body, these plant hormones do not stimulate cancerous cells to grow. In fact, lignans boost production of a substance that fastens onto human estrogen and carries it out of the body. They are also considered to be anti-oxidants, therefore, researchers believe lignans can protect healthy cells from cancer causing agents (known as free radicals). Research findings continue to show promise in this area.

Flax seed is certainly considered to be a veritable storehouse of lignans when compared with other foods. Many plant foods have some lignans, yet flaxseed has proven to be the super-food in this area, with boasting anywhere from 75 to 800 times the amount of lignan content as other grain and vegetable sources. In fact, to get the lignans that are in just 1/8 cup of flax seed, you would need to eat about 60 cups of fresh broccoli, or 100 slices of whole-wheat bread. You wouldn’t get much done each day other than chewing!

Further information about cancer prevention studies and their link to high lignan diets is provided on this website.

NOTE: Information presented here does not replace seeking advice from your physician.