Flax is a plant and botanists know it under its Latin name as Linum usitatissimum. For centuries, this plant was used as food and for clothing. Flax plant is also used to ease the cough. However, flax has come to the spotlight once the scientists found out that these little seeds contain significant amount of alpha linoleic acid. This is actually an omega 3 fatty acid which posses anti-inflammatory properties.
Flax fibers, also called flax lignans have also been researched. These fibers show promising results in prevention and the treatment of different cancers. Flax lignan may also maintain arteries clear from the cholesterol buildups and positively affect enlargement of the prostate. Flax seeds are additionally discovered to reduce stress in post-menopausal women. In one study, these women experiences lowered blood pressure and decrease of stress hormone after taking flax lignans.
Flax for Cancer Treatment
Sex hormones are important for more than just libido and reproduction of mankind. Any imbalance of estrogen or testosterone may affect the tissue in the body, thus causing breast or prostate overgrowth. In some cases, this overgrown tissue may lead to cancers of the breasts or of theprostate.
Flax lignans are proven to work as phyto-estrogens (estrogens from the plant). After digestion, these lignans are metabolized and metabolites are able to prevent over stimulating effects of the hormones. By doing so, flax lignans support the growth of healthy cells instead of cancer cells. Another thing is the reaction with certain enzymes known to promote development of the cancer. Scientists used these facts and concluded that flax seeds may be very helpful for patients suffering from cancers.
Lignan-rich diet is statistically associated with lower breast cancer rates. People on this type of diet are the proof that flax lignans can be used for prevention of breast cancer. Some scientific studies confirmed this idea. Women involved in the study experienced decreased growth of the tumor after being on the diet rich in flax seeds.
Flax lignans are also antioxidants, able to fight against harmful free radicals in the body. This is also suggested mechanism of action of flax seeds in prevention of cancers.
Men may also use flax. Overgrown prostate cells may cause prostate cancer because of the excess of certain hormones. Low fat diet and flax lignans are found out to lower the risk of prostate cancer. Men in the study have reported slowed growth of the prostate cancer, decreased level of hormones and also lowered cholesterol. Flax lignans may also be used in men suffering from benign prostate hyperplasia.