Recently, flaxseed has been shown to possess some interesting anti-cancer properties, especially in regards to breast cancer—the most common malignancy amongst American women.
Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum) is the edible seed of the ancient flax plant, and is a rich source of dietary fiber, beneficial fatty acids, and phytochemicals. Flaxseeds are also known as “oilseeds” due to their high content of various fatty compounds. Flax is especially high in α-linolenic acid, an omega-3-fatty acid similar to those heart-healthy fatty acids found in certain cold-water fish like salmon.
As I said, flaxseeds contain high amounts of omega-3 α-linolenic acid and lignans, a large family of fiber-related antioxidant compounds that are found in a variety of plants. Linolenic acid is converted into secoisolariciresonol diglycoside (SDG), the dominant precursor to the human lignans known as enterolactone and enterodiol. Both of these compounds have been shown experimentally to decrease the formation and growth of breast cancer cells. These lignans have been shown in laboratory animals to decrease the synthesis and release of various cancer growth-promoting compounds such as epidermal growth factor, insulin-like growth factor, and vascular endothelial growth factor. Lignans also block the effect of circulating estrogen, a hormone that stimulates breast cancer cell growth.
Mice fed diets rich flaxseed have shown a decrease in the growth and spread of surgically implanted breast cancer and melanoma tissue. Mice fed flaxseed also have decreased formation and growth of prostate and colon cancer cells. Lignans may also inhibit the growth of blood vessels into tumors, thereby depriving the cancer of blood and oxygen.
Flaxseed supplementation has been shown to decrease the risk of breast, colon, prostate, and melanoma cancers in rodents. Demark-Wahnefried and colleagues administered a flaxseed-supplemented diet (30 grams daily) to patients with prostate cancer for 30 days prior to surgery and were found to have evidence of decreased cancer cell growth in the operative specimens. This provides proof-of-principle that daily consumption of flaxseed may reduce the growth of human cancer.
This is why all of my products utilize flaxseed in them!