Flaxseeds Relieve Hot Flashes
Flaxseeds are a nutritional powerhouse for women. They are the richest source of phytonutrients known as lignans and a good source of fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. Lignans are unique because they have hormone balancing properties.
Consider a study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition that demonstrated flaxseed extract relieved hot flashes. The study involved 22 postmenopausal women not taking hormone replacement therapy who were experiencing hot flashes. One group received a low dose (36 mg per day) or high dose (72 mg per day) of lignan extract for eight weeks. Both groups experienced a significant improvement in hot flashes. The low dose group achieved an improvement of 44% while the high dose group had a 50% reduction in hot flashes. As well, the group receiving the high dose of lignans had an 80% reduction in the frequency of severe hot flashes, one of the most troublesome symptoms for menopausal women. Previous research has also shown that lignans from flaxseeds reduce hot flash frequency by 50%.
Research on animals and humans has shown that flaxseeds have a protective effect against hormone-sensitive cancers such as breast, uterine, and prostate cancer. Lignans increase sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), a transporter protein that binds excess estrogen and helps to clear it out of the body.
Another unique feature of flaxseed lignans is that they help to decrease levels of harmful estrogen metabolites such as 16 alpha hydroxyestrone which is implicated in breast, uterine, and cervical cancer.
See the table below for a comparison of lignan rich foods.
|Total Lignan Content of Selected Foods|
|Food||Serving||Total Lignans (mg)|
|Sesame seeds||1 oz||11.2|
|Curly kale||½ cup, chopped||0.8|
|Broccoli||½ cup, chopped||0.6|
|Apricots||½ cup, sliced||0.4|
|Cabbage||½ cup, chopped||0.3|
|Brussels sprouts||½ cup, chopped||0.3|
|Tofu||¼ block (4 oz)||0.2|
|Dark rye bread||1 slice||0.1|
If you are one of the more than 50 million menopausal women in the United States, I advise including ground flaxseed in your daily diet or supplement with flaxseed extracts to reduce your hot flashes and protect against hormone associated cancers.
 Udani J.K., Brown D.J., Tan,M., Hardy, M. Pharacokinetics and Bioavailability of Plant Lignan 7-Hydroxymatairesinol and Effects of Serum Enterolactone and Clinical Symptoms in Premenopaudal Women: A Single-Blinded, Parallel, Dose –Comparison Study. Journal of The American College of Nutrition. Vol 32, pgs 428-435,
 Pruthi S, Thompson SL, Novotny PJ: Pilot evaluation of ﬂaxseed
for the management of hot ﬂashes. J Soc Integr Oncol 5:106–112,
 Milder IE, Arts IC, van de Putte B, Venema DP, Hollman PC. Lignan contents of Dutch plant foods: a database including lariciresinol, pinoresinol, secoisolariciresinol and matairesinol. Br J Nutr. 2005;93(3):393-402.