Flaxseed May Relieve “Hot Flashes”
Flaxseed is a tremendous food, and has a lot of health benefits! Flaxseed and its derivative flaxseed oil are rich sources of the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, which is a biologic precursor to omega-3 fatty acids. Increasing consumption of flaxseed is always a good idea! Now, it seems there is growing evidence for an additional benefit!
“Flaxseed may be one way to reduce the bothersome hot flashes of menopause, Mayo Clinic researchers report. A small pilot study found that postmenopausal women not on estrogen who used dietary flaxseed daily reported a 50 percent reduction in hot flashes over the course of six weeks. ‘Flaxseed worked very well,’ said Dr. Sandhya Pruthi, director of the Mayo Breast Clinic at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. ‘The women who used it said it really helped them.’ But another expert, Dr. Wulf H. Utian, executive director of the North American Menopause Society, cautioned that the study was too preliminary to prove that flaxseed is effective. While hormone replacement therapy, particularly estrogen, is effective against hot flashes, its long-term use has fallen out of favor since the large study known as the Women’s Health Initiative found an increased risk of heart disease, breast cancer and other problems with long-term HRT use. So, Pruthi and her team were looking at options for women who suffered from hot flashes but didn’t want to take estrogen. They enrolled 29 postmenopausal women, median age 55, in the study. To join, the women had to have at least 14 hot flashes a week for at least one month. ‘Flaxseed has some natural phytoestrogens,’ Pruthi said, explaining how it, like the hormone estrogen, could possibly have an effect on hot flashes. Over the course of the study, the women sprinkled 40 grams of crushed flaxseed daily into yogurt or cereal or mixed it with orange juice or water. In the end, 21 women completed the study; others had dropped out because of side effects. Of those who finished, the researchers said, the frequency of hot flashes declined 50 percent, and the hot flash score — a combined measure of a flash’s severity and frequency — was found to have decreased about 57 percent. ‘By the second or third week, most women noticed improvement,’ Pruthi said, adding that she is now planning a larger study to compare flaxseed to a placebo.”