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Flax Seed's Benefits Contribute to Menopause Symptom Relief

A flood of recent flax seed research underscores the benefits flax seed has on healthful living. The idea isn't new. Specifically, scientists, nutritionists and physicians studying menopause have determined that the fiber and lignan content of flax seed products may offer natural menopause symptom relief. Flaxseed from North American Nutrition may have a large impact on menopause symptoms.

Flax seed may have a significant impact in providing menopause symptom relief according to ongoing studies. During menopause, a women's body undergoes dynamic change as fluctuating hormone levels influence all areas of her health and well-being. During this mid-life change, many menopausal women strive to achieve hormonal balance with the proper combination of diet, exercise and nutrition.
Estrogen begins to slow down during perimenopause, a span of time prior to menopause. The average age for the onset of menopause is 52. However, it may begin as early as 35 and as late as 60.

The decreasing and fluctuating level of estrogen causes the following symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause: irregular periods; hot flashes; night sweats; insomnia; mood swings; fluid retention; vaginal dryness; dry skin and hair; depression; and fatigue.

A balanced diet is one of the biggest factors in coping with menopausal symptoms.

An element that can help balance a women's hormone level is phytoestrogens, which are natural plant estrogens occurring in many foods, including flaxseed. Noted doctors and researchers such as Nancy Snyderman, M.D., Christine Northrup, M.D., Robert Arnot, M.D., Susan Love, M.D., Susan Lark, M.D., and Susun Weed have advocated eating foods that are high in phytoestrogens.

Dr. Snyderman noted menopause symptoms are generally temporary. She has placed an emphasis on proper diet that will give women extra phytoestrogens. In addition to commenting on the benefits of having women add flaxseed to their daily diet, Dr. Snyderman said: "...flaxseed and certain other foods contain high levels of plant estrogens (phytoestrogens). They are good for reducing hot flashes and other symptoms (and they may also lower your cholesterol and help prevent breast cancer)."
Weaker than human estrogens, phytoestrogens are beneficial in more ways as they attach themselves to the body's estrogen receptors. If a woman's estrogen level is low, phytoestrogens increase the body's level; if it is high, phytoestrogens replace the stronger human estrogen which may have harmful effects.

Not only do noted physicians emphasize the benefits of flaxseed, research institutes have cited data indicating elements such as phytoestrogens can improve health in additional ways.

This is what the Tuft University Health and Nutrition Letter said: "...today's studies focus on foods containing phytoestrogens. The notion is that phytoestrogens may relieve symptoms of perimenopause and reduce the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis with fewer adverse effects than hormone replacement therapy. In other words, we may be able to eat our way through menopause rather than medicating ourselves against it."

Medical studies have drawn attention to the apparent benefits of a plant-based diet rich in phytoestrogens in Asian cultures. Such a diet is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, while it is low in saturated fats. Research suggests that the plant based-diet is a contributing factor to the low rate of menopausal symptoms, breast cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis in Asian women.

Cross-cultural research shows that women whose traditional diet features a high intake of soy and flax have, on average, a milder menopausal experience. This conclusion is supported by scientific studies. Take, for example, the research of D.M. Tham, C.D. Gardner, and W.L. Haskell of the Stanford Center of Research in Disease Prevention at Stanford University Medical School. These scientists drew upon experiments in molecular and cellular biology, animal studies, and some human clinical trials. Their conclusions, published in the July 1998 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinological Metabolim concluded that “phytoestrogens may potentially confer health benefits related to...menopausal symptoms.”

-Jane Reinhardt-Martin RD, LD
An excerpt from her book FLAX Your Way to Better Health


Hi Greg
Thank you for all your support through your emails. I think my story is amazing (for me), and if you want to share my story, I'd prefer anonymity.

In 1996 my peri-menopause symptoms began. I thought I was about to lose it.

My Dr. gave me some estrogen, bad news on the sex life. Went to an OBGYN, started me back on birth control pills. Some improvement, but a woman at the hospital I worked at had a pulmonary embolism from the leg and nearly died. No more birth control pills. Several months went by and I saw an ad for a women's clinic for a Naturopath. I liked her and she had an exciting array of herbal hormones, sleep aide, and also milled Flax for my chronic constipation. (Tried many over the counter meds). I hated the flax and stopped that. I kept taking the hormones, and felt a little better. Insomnia stilled prevailed. For a year this continued, and I was working many OT hours, house remodel, lack of sleep, etc. I had a Grand Mal seizure! My neurologist said that hormone replacement may have been contributing to lowering my threshold to fight off a seizure. I stopped everything. Just going with the flow, and only taking a prescription sleep aid. After 3 weeks I thought I needed to check into a Mental Hospital, seriously. I became paranoid, crying all the time, very depressed and withdrawn. My doctor said that sleep aids are very powerful, stop it immediately and try some Flax Seed. "I tried the granules before, hated it." She said try the seeds instead. Two days later I felt wonderful. I've been on the seeds now for 6 months and haven't felt like this in 5 years. The most notable feeling is my sense of well-being, laugh a lot again, and my energy level has improved dramatically. Last year if I worked in the garden for an hour, I had to take a nap. Now I'm out there for hours. My constipation is gone also. I can't tell you how much I love Flax seed. My mother and sister have also started and love it also.

Thank you,

"Just a little note. I cannot take hormone pills, patches, or creams. For the last 3 years I've been taking flax meal (1 teaspoon twice a day). I only have night sweats. I've only slept with a sheet, even in the winter. When I hit Menopause, the hot flashes came all day long. Talked with my doctor and she said to increase to 2 big tablespoons twice a day. I mix it with nuts in the food processor and add to several foods. (Yogurt, peanut butter on toast, cereal, etc.). Immediately the hot flashes went away PLUS the night sweats!! It feels so good to be able to have the comforter on again. Feel great."

Thank you,
C. Haworth


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