Ground Flaxseeds Can Prevent and Stop Breast Cancer Tumors
Numerous studies done on flaxseed and breast cancer have shown that flaxseeds can significantly slow the rate of breast cancer cell growth. Studies have shown favorable outcomes both for estrogen-positive and-negative breast cancer tumors.
Researchers at the University of Toronto recently discovered that flaxseed inhibits the growth of estrogen-dependent human breast cancer cells in mice and seems to enhance the anti-tumor effects of the cancer drug Tamoxifen. In the study, tumor growth was slowed by 38 percent in flaxseed-fed mice compared to mice that ate flax-free chow. Flaxseed is similarly promising for humans, says study author and eminent flax researcher Lilian U. Thompson, PhD, professor of medicine at the University of Toronto.
In an additional study on humans, researchers at the University of Toronto asked newly diagnosed breast cancer patients to eat two tablespoons of ground flaxseed each day. They then analyzed samples of their tumors before starting this treatment and 30 days after. They found that women taking the flaxseed slowed their rate of cancer cell growth by up to 33 percent compared to women not on flax. And there was nearly a 60 percent drop in the spread of the most aggressive breast cancer cells.
What’s more, this nutritional treatment effect was equal to anti-cancer drugs like Tamoxifen.
“Flax seed is the first nutritional product that’s been studied, that has actually produced hard scientific evidence,” says lead researcher Dr. Goss. Researchers think a fiber in the seeds may help sweep estrogen out of the body, blocking the hormone’s ability to make tumors grow.
A different study showed that ground flaxseed reduced breast cancer size in the short time period between the diagnosis of breast cancer and surgery. That phenomenon is uncommonly seen even with very powerful chemotherapy. But for food to cause a cancer to shrink, this is a real and remarkable first. That kind of shrinkage may reduce the surgery required from a mastectomy to a lumpectomy. Begun early enough, it might prevent cancer altogether.
How does flaxseed help fight breast cancer?
Flaxseeds contain lignans. Lignans are a class of plant fibers which are found in the cell walls of plants, seeds, grains and vegetables. Lignans have been studied extensively for their potentially valuable health benefits.
Lignans are classified as phytoestrogens and have both weak oestrogenic and anti-oestrogenic actions.
Plants contain several different families of natural substances among which are compounds with weak estrogenic or antiestrogenic activity in humans. These substances, termed phytoestrogens, include certain isoflavonoids, flavonoids, stilbenes, and lignans. The best-studied dietary phytoestrogens are the soy isoflavones and the flaxseed lignans. Their perceived health beneficial properties extend beyond hormone-dependent breast cancer, prostate cancer and osteoporosis to include brain function, cardiovascular disease, immune function, inflammation, and reproduction.
The main flaxseed lignan is called secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG), found in the hull. Flaxseed oil on the other hand, has small amounts of lignans.
Flax is one of the richest sources of plant lignans. It contains more lignans than any other plant. Flax hulls have been found to contain 100 to 400 times more lignans than any other known source. The major lignan in flaxseed is secoisolariciresinol diglycoside (SDG). Following ingestion, plant based lignans are converted in the large intestine into two mammalian lignans: enterolactone and enterodiol. The two compounds are absorbed from the intestine and undergo enterohepatic circulation.
The richest plant source of lignans is found in flax seeds. Flax seed (not oil) helps to block the estrogen receptors (also done by Tamoxifen ). It is also an Omega 3 fatty acid and considered an anti-cancer super food.
How do lignans help fight breast cancer
Lignans help prevent or reduce breast cancer partly due to the facts that the lignan constituents in plants, such as secoisolariciresinol diglycoside (SDG) in flaxseed, resemble the female hormone estrogen. Lignans are thus classified as phytoestrogens. Like other phytoestregens, they hook onto the same spots (receptors) on the cells 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.
Specifically, the lignans of the flax help balance hormonal levels. There is a powerful lignan within the hull called secoisolariciresinol diglycoside (SDG). When the hull is separated, the content of SDG becomes very concentrated.
It is the SDG lignan that seems to help balance estrogen levels in the body. This is the reason why scientists have regarded it seriously by testing to see the influence of flax on breast cancer, an estrogenic condition.
It is quite obvious that flaxseeds can have a dramatic effect on breast cancer prevention and that flaxseed can significantly slow the rate of breast cancer cell growth. Common sense would dictate that ALL woman make a habit of including flaxseeds in their diet.
How to benefit from flaxseed
1. (The most highly recommended option) Take a concentrated flax hull supplement product.
Flax Hulls contain the highest levels of lignans called secoisolariciresinol glucoside or SDG which, when converted to mammalian lignans (ED and EL) by good bacteria, are powerful antioxidants and potent free radical scavengers.
Flax Hulls (Lignans) are the natural organic shells of the flaxseed without any seed materials or oil. The shell of the flaxseed is known and proven to contain very high levels of botanical lignans especially SDG.
Concentrated Flax Hull Lignans are not flax seeds. Rather, they are concentrated directly — using a special process — from flax seed shells, or hulls, which typically don’t make it into the bags of flax seed in the store.
The nutrients contained in flax seeds are highly concentrated in the shells — one teaspoon of Concentrated Flax Hull Lignans contains the nutritional equivalent of two gallons of flax seed.
Flax hulls are also nutritious fibers containing both soluble and insoluble fibers and Vitamin B12 in the form of Cobalamin.
2. Grind your own flaxseeds
Grinding your own whole flax seeds with a grain mill, spice grinder or even a coffee grinder once a week will give you the freshest and most nutrient packed health benefits.
Once you grind or mill whole flax seeds the time clock speeds up rapidly. At room temperature, milled flax seeds will go rancid in one week. Refrigerating the milled flax seed will increase its shelf life, but it is best to grind your own once a week to insure freshness and to retain the slight nutty flavor.
3. Purchase a quality milled flaxseed product
Purchasing a quality milled flaxseed product is a convenient way of receiving the benefits of flaxseed.
Important note: Be sure when you purchase milled flaxseed that the label of your product states that the flax is from cold-milled, select flaxseed and that it is 100 percent organic and therefore pesticide- and herbicide-free. Such a milling process delicately liberates naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, amino acids, lignans, and phytonutrients without damaging fragile omega-3 fatty acids. Concurrently, the surface area of both soluble and insoluble fibers is greatly increased for maximum benefit.
Note: be sure to store the bag in the freezer after opening the package to prevent the flax from becoming rancid.
Ground flaxseed can be mixed into yogurt, cereals, and baked products such as muffins and breads.
Experts recommend anywhere from one to three tablespoons of flaxseed per day for a safe, effective dosage.
Once a day, add 1 to 2 scoops into your favorite beverage or sprinkle on your food (1 scoop = 1/2 tablespoon). Drink 4-6 ounces of water after consuming and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Flax hull lignans taste great as a topping for salads or breakfast cereals, in smoothies or added to your favorite recipe!