Seeds of the Change

Posted by on Sep 27, 2008 in heart disease, hot flash | 0 comments

Flaxseed evidently has the potential to reduce the frequency and potential of hot flashes associated with menopause.

Last Summer, researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN reported results of a small trial enrolling 29 postmenopausal women who were experiencing at least 14 hot flashes weekly for a month. None of the study participants were taking estrogen or herbal preparations for their symptoms, but for six weeks, ingested 40 grams (~2.8 tbs) daily of crushed flaxseed.

Not only did the frequency of hot flashes decline by 50%, but overall severity of hot flashes decreased by 57%. Study participants also reported improvements in their mood, joint or muscle pain, chills and sweating, all of which significantly improved their quality of life.

The researchers concluded that flaxseed is potentially an effective treatment for hot flashes and imparts overall health and psychological benefits.

The downside? 50% of women experienced mild or moderate bloating and 29%, mild diarrhea.

Flaxseed is a plant-based estrogen source (photoestrogen)  that contains antioxidants with weak estrogen properties (lignans) and omega-3 fatty acids. It is also an excellent source of fiber. Various studies have not only touted its benefits for heart disease prevention but also suggest that it might boost the effects of conventional breast cancer therapies.

Most health experts recommend ground flaxseed over whole because it is more easily digestible in this form. It should be taken with ample amounts of water to avoid any gastrointestinal blockage. Flaxseed can also inhibit the ability of the blood to clot after injury so if you’re taking any heart medications or planning surgery, you might want to speak to your doctor before trying it. Additionally, it may exacerbate the effects of herbs that interfere with clotting such as:

  • Danshen
  • Devil’s Claw
  • Eeuthero
  • Garlic
  • Ginger (in large amounts)
  • Ginkgo
  • Horse Chestnut
  • Panax Ginseng
  • Papain
  • Red Clover
  • Saw Palmetto

Personally, I don’t care for the taste of flaxseed.  However, it can be baked or added to other foods. In fact, some of these recipes look pretty tasty.

Do you take flaxseed? How has it helped your menopausal symptoms? Any recipes you’d like to share?

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  1. Seeds of change, part 2: flaxseed oil and bone health « Flashfree - [...] year I wrote a post about the promising effects of flaxseed — a plant-based estrogen–  on hot flashes.  [...]…

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