Lignans are compounds found in certain plant-based foods that offer huge benefits to health and well-being. And because they are classified as phytoestrogens, they can potentially prevent various health conditions affecting women.
Currently, there are three types of lignans available on the market: Flax (SDG) lignans, from flax seed hulls; HMR lignans, derived from the Norwegian Spruce tree; and Sesamin, from sesame seeds..
Incorporating flax, sesame, or HMR lignans into your daily diet can help boost your immune system and promote hormonal balance, among others.
Lignans Health Benefits for Women
Scientists have been studying lignans for their contributions to health and ability to fight breast cancer and other estrogen-related malignancies. Some of these studies returned promising results and discovered the following benefits of taking lignans for women’s health:
Lignans have the unique ability to balance hormones, especially estrogen. The lignans exert a weak estrogenic effect. If estrogen levels are low, they get a boost of estrogen from the lignans. If estrogen levels are high, the plant lignans compete with endogenous (naturally occurring) estrogen for estrogen receptors. This balancing effect of estrogen can benefit many organs and systems in the female body.
Lignans mimic estrogen and provide a natural way to get natural hormone replacement therapy without some of the risks associated with conventional therapy. Click here to read more on Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy.
As soon as a woman enters perimenopause, she may experience an onset of symptoms, including mood changes, menstrual irregularity, hot flashes, and difficulty sleeping. At the menopause stage, the hot flashes can become more frequent and are usually accompanied by night sweats, fatigue, and other discomforts.
Lignan’s hormone-balancing properties can help balance estrogen levels and reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. Click here to read more about lignans and menopause relief.
Better Breast Health
Lignans are phytoestrogens. This means they can act like estrogen in the body but are much weaker. Phytoestrogens' ability to inhibit estrogen synthesis and metabolism may be especially helpful in maintaining hormone balance.
Several studies show that high levels of lignans in women can lower the risk of breast and reproductive organ cancers due to reduced estrogen levels. Read more about lignans and breast health here.
Poor colon health can increase your risk of developing colon-related health issues and even colon cancer—the third most common type of cancer in the United States. A daily dose of lignans can help improve the health of your colon and protect it from diseases. Moreover, if you’re taking flax lignans, the high fiber content of flaxseed hulls may also reduce your risk of colon cancer.
Two studies show a reduced risk in subjects that ate a diet high in lignan vs. those that did not. Read more about lignans and colon cancer prevention.
Lignans has shown promise as a natural way of preventing and treating hair loss and promoting hair regrowth.
As a phytoestrogen, lignans inhibit the conversion of testosterone to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT accumulates in hair follicles and can cause hair loss. Reducing DHT may help you grow your hair back. Read more about lignans and natural hair growth.
Reduction of Cholesterol
To reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and other cardiovascular issues, you need to eliminate as much bad cholesterol from your body as possible.
Several studies show that taking lignans daily can reduce cholesterol by up to 20%. If your cholesterol level is marginally high, adding lignans to your diet could reduce the amount of statin drugs you take. Read more about lignans and reduction in cholesterol here.
Oxidative stress can damage cells and even cause illnesses. But while it is impossible to completely avoid free radicals and oxidative stress, there are things you can do to minimize their effects on your body.
Maintaining an active lifestyle and eating foods rich in antioxidants can help mitigate the negative effects of free radicals in the body. One of the best sources of antioxidants is lignans. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and support healthy immune system function. Read more about the antioxidant value in lignans here.
Ovarian and Uterine Health
Most of lignans’ health benefits for women can be attributed to their anti-estrogenic properties. This allows lignans to mimic estrogen and bind to estrogen receptors but not have the same antagonistic effects as estrogen.
Plant estrogens are a cleaner form of estrogen, and when more plant lignans are consumed, more normally occurring (endogenous) estrogen is flushed out of the body. It is believed that this is the mechanism behind the studies that indicate lignans may contribute to better ovarian and uterine health.