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Flax Seed’s Power Over Cancer June 23, 2009

Posted by mygiftofcancer in cancer.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Flax seed is probably best known for its high fiber content, but I first heard about its potent cancer-fighting lignans when reading up on the famous Dr. Budwig’s Cancer Diet.

She recommends combining flax seed oil with quark (or cottage cheese, which is more readily available in the US). I couldn’t find either here, but after researching flax seed a bit more, I was impressed also by how researchers uncovered its power in the ground form when they added freshly ground flax seed meal to the diets of  prostrate cancer patients already scheduled for surgery. The men all experienced a slower rate of growth of their tumors. That’s pretty convincing! (See article below!)

Since living in Vietnam often means specialty items easily available in the West are often rare if not unheard of here, I wondered if we’d be able to find flax seed, but lo and behold, a small (expensive) shop which caters to foreigners just happens to carry it!

We’ve been buying, grinding and eating flax seed for 8 or 9 months now. Dr. Budwig’s diet calls for flax seed oil, but because it can be unstable and doesn’t seem to even be available here, we went with the obvious: the flax seed ground into meal.

I usually add 2-3 tablespoons of flax seed meal, blended in my grinder, to whichever meal (lunch or dinner) has either a soup or extra vegetable liquid, as it is otherwise quite dry and can clog your lower digestive tract. Incidentally, if swallowed whole, the seeds have a nifty laxative effect, but offer no other help, so ground is best for most health benefits.

This daily routine works for me, though the taste is a bit boring; but as in the ancient philosopy: my food is  my medicine! I choose to eat what is healthy and can heal me. Flax seed is a winner!

According to the article, Flax Seed: The Low Carb Whole Grain, “The flax seed carries one of the biggest nutrient payloads on the planet.” That’s hard to beat! Read the whole article for lots of good information about this amazing little seed.

(Here is the other article about the effects of flax seed on cancer patients)

US National Institute of Health finds Flaxseed Halts Cancer Growth

A new US study suggests that flaxseed, which is rich in omega 3 fatty

acids and lignans, can stop prostate cancer tumours from growing.

The study was presented at the 43rd annual meeting of the American

Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago on Saturday by

researchers from Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North


The researchers think that flaxseed, which has similar properties to

sesame seed, probably interrupts the chain of events that eventually

makes cells multiply out of control and become a tumour.

Dr Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, a researcher in Duke’s School of Nursing

and lead investigator on the study said that: “Our previous studies in

animals and in humans had shown a correlation between flaxseed

supplementation and slowed tumor growth, but the participants in those

studies had taken flaxseed in conjunction with a low-fat diet.”

However, she explained that: “For this study, we demonstrated that it

is flaxseed that primarily offers the protective benefit.”

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, and

researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of North

Carolina at Chapel Hill also took part.

Demark-Wahnefried and colleagues recruited 161 men who were due to

have surgery for prostate cancer (prostatectomy: where all or part of

the prostate gland is removed).

The patients were randomly assigned to one of four groups. One group

took 30 grams of flaxseed a day for an average of 30 days before they

had the operation (the flaxseed only group). Another group did the

same but also followed a low-fat diet (20 per cent or less of their

calories from fat). A third group did not take the flaxseed and only

followed a low-fat diet, while the fourth group, a control, had none

of the interventions.

After the surgery, the researchers examined the tumour cells under a

microscope to assess how quickly they had multiplied. They then

compared the men who had only flaxseed, with or without following a

low-fat diet, with the men in the other two groups: no intervention

and low-fat diet only. They found that the slowest rate of tumour

growth occurred in the two flaxseed supplemented groups.

Demark-Wahnefried said: “The results showed that the men who took just

flaxseed as well as those who took flaxseed combined with a low-fat

diet did the best, indicating that it is the flaxseed which is making

the difference.”

The flaxseed supplement was given in ground form because in the whole

form the seed coat is hard and undigestible. The patients took the

flaxseed either in drinks, sprinkled on food, or with yogurt.

Flaxseed is thought to stop the growth and spread of cancer cells.

This could be because the omega-3 fatty acids it contains interferes

with the ability of cancer cells to cling onto other body cells, said

Demark-Wahnefried. The lignans it contains may also have

antiangiogenic properties, the ability to stop the blood supply to the


Demark-Wahnefried said that they were “excited that this study showed

that flaxseed is safe and associated with a protective effect on

prostate cancer”. In next phase of their research the team hopes to

study the preventative properties of flaxseed, and its effect on

patients with recurrent prostate tumours.

As well as being antiangiogenic, the lignans in flaxseed, one of the

richest sources of these fibre-related compounds, are thought to

interfere with or prevent cell division and affect hormones. They are

antimitotic, affect androgen metabolism and have estrogenic effects,

said Demark-Wahnefried.



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