Lignans and Prostate Health
Prostate cancer is the most prevalent cancer among men in the United States. This cancer was thought to only affect elderly males, but more men in their 40s and 50s have been diagnosed with prostate cancer in recent years. It is said that 1 in 8 men will develop the disease in their lifetime.
As men around the country seek to take control of their prostate health, so has the popularity of natural dietary supplements, specifically lignans. Flax lignans have been found to contribute to prostate health. Researchers found greater quantities of lignans in the urine and prostate fluid of populations with lower incidences of prostate cancer. Such scenarios prompted researchers to conduct a pilot study on lignans prostate cancer-fighting properties.
Although lignans are present in many plant-based foods, flax has 800 times more lignans than the next highest source. The abundance of dietary lignans in flaxseed is believed to be the source of the plant’s cancer-fighting benefits. Lignans are phytoestrogens and may have the ability to influence hormone metabolism, including testosterone. As such, taking natural lignan supplements may help prevent hormone-linked cancers, like prostate cancer, or benefit those already diagnosed with the disease.
How Lignans May Help Reduce The Risk of Prostate Cancer
There are two main types of androgens in men: testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a more potent and potentially dangerous hormone than testosterone. DHT is critical in the early stages of life for the development of the male sex organs. However, later in life, its accumulation can cause prostate cancer, balding in men, and cardiovascular inflammation.
The enzyme 5-alpha-reductase synthesizes DHT in the prostate and hair follicles. DHT gets stored in the prostate and the hair follicles. Lignans can help prevent the errant metabolic conversion of testosterone into DHT by reducing the amount of 5a reductase enzyme in the body, effectively reducing DHT.
Over time, lignans will reduce the amount of DHT in hair follicles, and additional hair growth may be seen. The hair follicles are not dead; rather, they become dormant. Baldness is often a result of atrophy in the hair follicles due to DHT.
As lignans can aid in reducing DHT in the prostate, some men have reported reduced urination frequency and more urine flow when taking lignans. Another study on lignans prostate cancer effect showed a reduced rate of prostate cancer in men with higher amounts of lignan as measured from plasma levels.
Lignans and melatonin both block the aromatase enzyme, which is responsible for converting testosterone into estrogen. Many bodybuilders use lignans to block aromatase enzymes to maintain testosterone levels by preventing testosterone loss in the conversion.
Read about two studies (cited below), both of which discovered that men with higher serum levels of lignan have reduced rates of prostate cancer. A third study (cited below) states that flaxseed-derived enterolignans may hinder rapid cancer cell production.
A case-control study conducted in Scotland found that higher serum enterolactone concentrations were associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer
Heald CL, Ritchie MR, Bolton-Smith C, Morton MS, Alexander FE. Phyto-oestrogens and risk of prostate cancer in Scottish men. Br J Nutr. 2007;98(2):388-396. (PubMed)
Flaxseed SDG may have a therapeutic role in lupus nephritis. (Clark W. et al Lupus, 9(6): 429, 2000) Asian men have a much lower incidence of prostate cancer and possibly of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) than Western counterparts. Vegetarian men have a lower incidence of prostate cancer than omnivorous males. Plant lignans give rise to the mammalian lignans, enterodiol and enterolactone; the richest source is linseed (flaxseed). In addition to their estrogenic activity, these plant compounds can interfere with steroid metabolism and bioavailability, and also inhibit enzymes, such as tyrosine kinase and topoisomerase, which are crucial to cellular proliferation and hence may contribute to lower incidences of prostate cancer.
(Eur Urol, 35(5-6): 377, 1999)
A study published on the US government web site National Institute of Health stated that "Flaxseed-derived enterolactone is inversely associated with tumor cell proliferation in men with localized prostate cancer."
Department of Nutrition Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama 35294, USA.firstname.lastname@example.org
"In conclusion, flaxseed-derived enterolignans may hinder cancer cell proliferation via VEGF-associated pathways.” Read the full study on the US government website - National Institute of Health Pub Med Site Here
Mack E. writes, "I am 71 years old. The males in my family seem to be predisposed to prostate cancer and other prostate problems. I was diagnosed with BPH approximately 6 years ago, which elevates PSA. My attending physician had me try everything, including herbal remedies, but with little or no relief. A friend of mine mentioned Flaxseed Lignans and the results of my internet search led me to Lignans for Life. I purchased a bottle of Flaxseed Lignan capsules and after one bottle, I have nothing but the highest praise about this product; I would recommend it without reservations. It has changed my life....I've ordered 4 more bottles so I will not run low."
Margo H. writes, “My husband, Gordon, has had a lot of problems urinating & has been on saw palmetto for two years. I started him on flaxseed hull lignans a month ago. In questioning him this past week, I found out that he only gets up once a night now. When urinating, he does not have nearly the problems beginning, he goes much less often, and he passes a lot more urine with each trip. Thanks for a great product!"
Important NoteThe information provided in this article is for informational purposes only. This information should not be construed as medical advice. It is up to the individual reading this to seek expert medical advice and not simply rely on this information for diagnosis, treatment, prevention or attempts to cure any disease.