June 15, 2007

Flaxseed Slows Prostate Cancer Growth

By Kevin Flatt

Duke University Medical Center carried out a study involving 25 patients with prostate cancer who were awaiting prostatectomy (surgical removal of the prostate). The patients were placed on a low-fat, flaxseed-supplemented diet for an average of 34 days. Finely ground flaxseed was used in the study which equated to three rounded tablespoons a day.

At the end of the study, the researchers observed that the men on the diet had significant decreases in cholesterol, and both total and free testosterone. There was a trend toward a decrease in PSA levels in men with early-stage prostate cancer but in men with advanced prostate cancer PSA levels continued to rise.

“It’s not surprising that a diet therapy that was only taken for an average of 34 days had little effect on men with aggressive disease,” lead author Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, associate research professor in the department of surgery at Duke said. “But what we did see was that for the men on the diet, their tumor cells did not divide as quickly and there was a greater rate of apoptosis (tumor cell death) in this group.” (Kevin Lees, Duke University News & Communications 20/7/2001).

The researchers were uncertain if the low fat diet or the flaxseed, or a combination of the two, was the active component in the prostate tumor reductions.

The answer? Flaxseed.

On November 12, 2002 Duke University Medical Center reported that their researchers found that a diet rich in flaxseed seems to reduce the size, aggressiveness and severity of tumors in mice that have been genetically engineered to develop prostate cancer. And in 3 percent of the mice, the flaxseed diet totally prevented them from getting prostate cancer.

Flaxseed is a source of lignan, a specific family of fiber-related compounds that appear to play a role in influencing both estrogen and testosterone metabolism. Since testosterone may be important in the progression of prostate cancer, lignan could help inhibit the growth and development of the disease. (Duke University 12/11/2002).

Dr Wendy Demark-Wahnefried said: “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.” She then went on to explain that this most recent study revealed that it was flaxseed that provided the protective benefit. (Healthypages 4/6/2007).

In the study, the researchers examined the effects of flaxseed supplementation on 161 men who were scheduled to undergo prostatectomy - surgery for the treatment of prostate cancer. The men took 30 grams of flaxseed daily for an average of 30 days prior to surgery.

Men taking flaxseed, either alone or in conjunction with a low-fat diet, were compared to men assigned to just a low-fat diet, as well as to men in a control group, who did not alter or supplement their daily diet. Men in both of the flaxseed groups had the slowest rate of tumor growth. Each group was made up of about 40 participants. (Duke University Medical Center 2/6/2007).

“We are excited that this study showed that flaxseed is safe and associated with a protective effect on prostate cancer,” study author Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Ph.D., a researcher in the Duke University School of Nursing, was quoted as saying.

Now the investigators plan more studies to see if flaxseed supplements can help prevent prostate cancer recurrence or even reduce prostate cancer risk among healthy men without the condition. (Ivanhoe Newswire 4/6/2007).

Copyright 2007 Kevin Flatt. Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is presented for information purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner. It cannot and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or choice of treatment.

Copyright 2007 Kevin Flatt. Reproduction of any information on other websites is PROHIBITED.

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