FLAXSEED LIGNAN - Secoisolariciresinol digluscside (SDG) is a plant lignan isolated from flaxseed. It is a potent antioxident. Studies have shown that SDG may prevent the development of hypercholesterolemic atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), reduce total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol and has the tendency to raise HDL-cholesterol. In addition, SDG has shown the ability to lower blood pressure and has demonstrated that it is may be effective in preventing diabetes mellitus and endotoxic shock. The research into lignans and their benevolent properties continues to grow, increasingly opening the door to a treasure trove of medical marvels found in the flaxseed lignan.
BREAST CANCER: Evidence of lignans reducing breast cancer came from the University Department of Surger, Queen Elizabeth II Medical Center, Perth, Western Austrailia. They concluded: "There is a substantial reduction in breast-cancer risk among women with high intake of phyto-estrogens, particularly the isflavonic phyto-estrogen equol and the lignan enterolactone. These findings could be important in the prevention of breast cancer." Lignans help prevent or reduce breast cancer partly due to the fact that the lignan constituents resemble the female hormone estrogen. Lignans are thus classified as phytoestrogens and hook onto the same spots on the cell where estrogen attaches. When natural estrogen is abundant in the body, lignans reduce estrogen's effects by displacing it from cells. This displacement of the hormone can help prevent those cancers, such as breast cancer, that depend on estrogen to start and develop. In a 1996 study, it was shown that SDG has an anti-tumor effect when provided at the early promotional stage of tumorigenesis. Another study concluded that SDG is beneficial throughout the promotional phase of carcinogenesis, and at the stage when tumors have already been established (tumor volume reduced 50% in treated groups). Read more in our Lignan section
PROSTATE CANCER: This is the second leading cause of death among men. It is a disease that primarily occurs in men over sixty years old. By the age of 80, 80% of all men have prostate issues to some extent. Flaxseed lignan contains estrogenic/anti-estrogenic properties. In tests these properties suggested potential protection against prostatic disease, without affecting sex hormone levels.
WOMEN'S HEALTH ISSUES: Women consuming lignans report a reduction in breast tenderness, bloating, hot flashes, sweating, vaginal dryness, and other symptoms related to PMS and menopause. This is due to the lignan's estrogenic activity. Lignans in flaxseed have been shown to regulate women's menstrual cycle. In one study, women consuming lignans did not miss a single cycle, compared to the control group that missed several cycles. The control which lignan has over the menstrual cycle has an influence on cancer growth. This is because the less time a woman spends in the luteal phase of her cycle the lower the risk of breast cancer. The Luteal Phase is the time period beginning with the day after ovulation and running through the remainder of the menstrual cycle (it ends the day before the next period). A study of 28 postmenopausal women was conducted in which they consumed flaxseed lignan. These results suggest that lignan from flaxseed may have chemo-protective effects in postmenopausal women. Dietary estrogens, such as lignans, are similar in sutrcture to endogenous sex steroid hormones and act in vivo to alter hormone metabolism and reduce subsequent cancer risk in postmenopausal women.
BECAUSE OF THE POTENTIAL EFFECTS LIGNANS HAVE ON ESTROGEN, WOMEN WHO ARE PREGNANT OR NURSING SHOULD AVOID TAKING LARGE AMOUNTS OF THIS SUPPLEMENT. IT IS CONSIDERED SAFE WHEN USED IN MODERATION AT THIS TIME.
HEART DISEASE: Researchers produced a flax meal consisting of 99% pure SDG. The SDG was fed to rabbits on a high cholesterol diet. It was discovered that the SDG resulted in a 73% reduction in atherosclerotic plaques. There was a 33% reduction in serum cholesterol in the SDG-fed rabbits. This shows that flaxseed SDG is effective in reducing hypercholesterolemic atherosclerosis. Oxygen free radicals have been implicated in the development of the disease. SDG's antioxidant activity has the ability to remove toxic metabolites of oxygen or free radicals, thus retarding atherosclerosis.
MEN'S HEALTH ISSUES: The biological properties of lignans have several beneficial effects for men. Their potent anti-estrogenic effect has drawn the interest of bodybuilders looking to increase their testosterone to estrogen ratio. Lignans may also offer a benefit to men who are athletic, do heavy lifting or strenous work by preventing damage to muscles. Studies have shown that subjects that were pre-treated with a lignan-enriched extract were protected against exercise-indused muscle damage. Flaxseed Lignans deliver an extra boost to your immune system.
"This incredible fiber has helped to create the most amazing changes in many of the patients in my clinical practice. Conditions like hot flashes disappearing within a few days of begining the lignans, prostate and breast tumors getting smaller before my eyes, long-standing cases of mental depression lifting, and severe cases of PMS resolving within the first few weeks of taking lignans. This amazing substance has helped more of my patients than any other single agent that I have ever used"
- Dr. Kenneth Proefrock