Is eating large amounts of flaxseed really good for the prostate? Well, it certainly seems to slow down the development of prostate cancer – the most common cancer affecting men.
At the 43rd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago, Professor Wendy Demark-Wahnefried (of Duke University Medical Center, United States) reported on a study that seems to offer interesting possibilities.The starting point was to investigate a possible relationship between flaxseed, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and the ability of these to reduce cell proliferation. Flaxseed is also extremely rich in lignan, which is known to bind with the sex hormones -testosterone and oestrogen- and which is therefore thought to be able to counteract their stimulant effect on prostate cancer.
The results obtained at the end of a multicentre randomised phase II study – no less! – deserve our attention. In all, 161 men suffering from prostate cancer were divided into 4 groups: a control group; another group that consumed 30g of flaxseed per day; a third group that simply reduced fat consumption; and a fourth group that both reduced fat consumption and ate 30g of flaxseed a day.
After 30 days on this regime, the patients had their prostates surgically removed – this had already been planned in any case! – and carefully analysed. The results showed that in the two groups that had eaten flaxseed there was a 30% to 40% reduction in tumour cell multiplication. Which is far from negligible. Further and more detailed studies are to be carried out but the result is already considered to be worthy of interest.