Lignans are chemical compounds found in plants. They are phytoestrogens, which means they can resemble the effects of estrogen in the body while also acting as antioxidants.
Lignans are abundant in the plant kingdom. You can find them in the majority of unrefined grains and vegetables like carrots, broccoli, spinach, and cauliflower. But the richest source of plant lignans is flaxseed, with up to 800 times more lignan content than the majority of other lignan sources in vegetarian diets.
Plant lignans are precursors of mammalian lignans and are converted by the bacteria in the colon into the enterodiol and enterolactone—the lignans found in humans, dogs, and other animals. Studies have suggested that lignans may have beneficial effects on various aspects of human health, including cardiovascular, digestive, and hormonal processes.
Currently, you can find three types of lignans on the market: Flax or SDG lignans, derived from the hulls of flax seed; HMR lignans, derived from the Norwegian Spruce tree; and Sesamin, derived from sesame seeds. These extract-based lignans are mostly sold as dietary supplements for humans and dogs.
Benefits of Lignans for Men
Adding lignans to your diet can help men of all ages live healthier lives and reduce the risk of disease.
Some of the most significant benefits of lignans for men’s health include:
The incidence of prostate cancer among aging men is rising at an alarming rate. It is the most frequently diagnosed form of cancer in men over the age of 50. New evidence suggests that consuming plant lignans benefits prostate health and may significantly reduce the risk of men developing this particular type of cancer.
Several studies show that men who take lignans on a daily basis have a reduced incidence of prostate cancer. Some reports from men experiencing prostate swelling reported reduced swelling within just 30 days of taking lignans. Read more about lignans and prostate health.
An unhealthy colon is at a much higher risk of developing colon-related diseases like diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and colon cancer—the third most common type of cancer in the United States.
Adding lignans-rich food or supplements to your regular diet can help improve colon health and lessen the risk of colon cancer. Multiple studies show a reduced risk in subjects that ate a diet high in lignan compared to the subjects who did not. Read more about lignans and colon cancer prevention.
About two-thirds of the male population experience some degree of hair loss by the time they reach the age of 35. In many cases, hair loss is caused by a potent form of the male testosterone hormone, Dihydrotestosterone or DHT. DHT accumulates in the hair follicles and can sometimes be the cause of hair loss. Reducing DHT may help improve hair health.
Lignans inhibit the conversion of testosterone to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This results in lower DHT levels, which reduces the risk of hair loss or encourages hair regrowth in balding men. Read more about lignans and natural hair growth.
Reduction of Cholesterol
There are two types of cholesterol in the human body: LDL or low-density lipoprotein and HDL or high-density lipoprotein. LDL cholesterol is often referred to as the “bad” cholesterol because the high level of LDL in the body increases a person’s risk for heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and other diseases.
Several studies show that taking lignans daily can reduce bad cholesterol levels by up to 20%. If cholesterol is only marginally high, the amount of statin drugs may be able to be reduced when taking lignans as well. Read more about lignans and reduction in cholesterol here.
Natural processes and environmental pressures both contribute to the production of free radicals. Too many free radicals in the body can cause oxidative stress, which can result in cell damage and even cause illnesses.
To counter the effects of free radicals in the body, it is important to maintain a healthy diet with plenty of antioxidants and an active lifestyle. Lignans are one of the best sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants help remove free radicals from the body and build and maintain the immune system. Learn more about the antioxidant value in lignans here.
Testosterone is an important sex hormone that plays a crucial role in stimulating puberty, burning fat, building muscles, and even regulating mood. However, having too much testosterone can lead to a variety of health issues in men.
Lignans for men help maintain testosterone levels and balance the DHT-testosterone relationship by inhibiting certain enzymes that convert testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT)---a more potent and potentially dangerous hormone than testosterone. Read more about the role of lignans in testosterone and prostate health here.