Note: This posting is about whole flaxseed, repeat “whole flaxseed”, and the lignan it contains. Flaxseed oil does not contain lignan.
I just came across a report from Reuters concerning a very preliminary study at Duke University concerning the use of whole flaxseed to combat prostate cancer - presumably because, and I quote from the article, “flaxseed contains a fiber compound called lignan that may slow tumor growth by binding to the male hormone testosterone, which is believed to contribute to the progression of prostrate cancer.” Here’s a partial description of the study, again from the Reuter’s article. “The Duke study involved 25 cancer patients who were awaiting the removal of their prostrate. Each member of the trial group consumed each day three tablespoons of ground flaxseed mixed into cereal, yogurt, applesauce or juice. [The researcher] found that men who were on a low-fat, flaxseed-supplemented diet for an average of 34 days experienced decreased levels of testosterone, lower tumor cell proliferation rates and higher levels of cancer cell death.”
Personally I've seen more and more references and articles pushing flaxseed because of its high fiber content and its apparent ability to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. I had been considering trying the stuff, but "decreased levels of testosterone?" Not exactly what I'm looking for! Has anybody else heard of this study or of this undesireable side-effect (undesireable at least from the T-man point of view) of whole flaxseed? How about you T-mag science writers? Any buzz about this at the conferences? Inquiring minds want to know!