The Benefits of Flaxseeds for Preventing and Healing Prostate Cancer
A new US study suggests that flaxseed, which is rich in omega 3 fatty acids and lignans, can stop prostate cancer tumors from growing.
The study was presented at the 43rd annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago on Saturday by researchers from Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.
The researchers think that flaxseed, which has similar properties to sesame seed, probably interrupts the chain of events that eventually makes cells multiply out of control and become a tumor.
Numerous studies done on flaxseed and prostate cancer have shown that flax-seed can significantly slow the rate of prostate cancer cell growth.
Researchers have found that a diet supplemented with flax-seed may reduce the formation, growth, or spread of prostate cancer.
This breakthrough information has been confirmed by numerous studies.
A 2008 study performed by researchers at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center found that men with prostate cancer who ate three tablespoons of milled or ground flax-seed each day had decreased prostate cancer cell proliferation compared to similar men who did not eat flax-seed.
A small study of 15 men found that a low-fat diet along with flaxseed lowered their blood prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels and slowed the growth of benign prostate cells, suggesting that it might be useful in reducing risk of prostate cancer.
In one study men with prostate cancer who ate an ounce of ground flaxseeds (almost three tablespoons) a day as part of a very-low-fat diet were able to slow the progress of their cancers between the time they were diagnosed and the time of surgery.
Another study of 25 men with prostate cancer found that a low-fat diet along with ground flax-seed reduced serum testosterone, slowed the growth rate of cancer cells, and increased the death rate of cancer cells.
In the latest study from Duke University Medical, Dr. Wendy Demark-Wahnefried and co-investigators studied the ability of flax to inhibit prostate cancer among 25 men who were awaiting surgical removal of their prostates. These 25 men were told to consume a low-fat diet that they supplemented with three tablespoons of ground flax-seed per day. They simply sprinkled it into their cereal or other favorite food.
Reporting in the July issue of the journal Urology, the researchers observed that after an average of only 34 days of supplementation with the flaxseed, the men had lowered cholesterol and testosterone levels and an increase in the number of dead tumor cells, compared to historic controls. Their levels of prostate specific antigen, used to measure tumor size, also fell.
How can flaxseed help fight prostate cancer?
Flax-seeds contain the highest source of lignans, a fiber and phyto-oestrogen with a chemical makeup similar to human oestrogena Lgnans contain plant estrogen that are touted for their anti-prostate cancer properties . Lignans are also a good source of alpha-linolenic acid, which is converted by the body into omega-3 fatty acids, which improve cell function in the lining of the heart and blood vessels, lower triglyceride levels, and inhibit platelet clumping.
Lignans are classified as phytoestrogens and have both weak oestrogenic and anti-oestrogenic actions.
The major lignan in flax seed is called secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG). It’s actually a lignan precursor, which means its power isn’t unlocked until it is metabolized by your body. In the intestines, SDG becomes two lignans. These lignans have the power to wipe out prostate cancer, as well as to shrink enlarged prostates.
Lignans are converted by bacteria in the intestinal tract to hormone-like compounds called phytoestrogens that have protective effects against hormone-related cancers such as breast and prostate cancer. In fact, consuming ground flaxseed has been shown to have beneficial properties for prevention and treatment of both breast and prostate cancer.
How can flax lignans help to fight prostate cancer?
Flax lignans bind to testosterone in the body — and in many prostate-cancer patients, testosterone is what fuels tumor growth. Testosterone is the male sex hormone, thought to be important in the progression of prostate cancer. Researchers have often suspected that flax lignans might stop prostate tumor cells from multiplying out of control.
the lignans in flaxseed, one of the richest sources of these fiber-related compounds, are thought to interfere with or prevent cell division and affect hormones. They are antimitotic, affect androgen metabolism and have estrogenic effects, said Demark-Wahnefried.
Flaxseed is also the richest known source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids which affect the production of cell membranes, the levels of natural killer cells and circulating levels of protein kinase C and tyrosine kinases, which profoundly affect cell activity.
Researchers at Duke University found that supplementation with milled flax resulted in significant decreases in both total and free testosterone in prostate cancer patients. They also found a decrease in PSA levels in men with early stage prostate cancer.
Flaxseed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are believed to influence cell signaling and the production of cell membranes and to reduce cell proliferation.