Flaxseed May Reduce Hot Flashes

Data from a new Mayo Clinic (http://mayoclinic.edu)
study suggest that dietary therapy using flaxseed can
decrease hot flashes in postmenopausal women who do
not take estrogen. The findings from the pilot study
are published in the summer 2007 issue of the Journal
of the Society for Integrative Oncology.

A hot flash is often described as a flush of intense
warmth across much of the body that may be accompanied
by sweating, reddening of the skin, or, occasionally,
cold shivers. Hot flashes occur in varying frequency
and duration, even during sleep, and often cause or
accompany sleep deprivation, anxiety and irritability.

“Hot flashes are a bothersome issue for women
experiencing menopause,” says Sandhya Pruthi, M.D.,


Mayo Clinic breast health (http://cancercenter.mayo.edu/) specialist and the study’s primary investigator. “We hope
to find more effective nonhormonal options to assist women,
and flaxseed looks promising.”

Although until recently hormone replacement therapy was
the most commonly prescribed treatment for hot flashes,
unwanted side effects have led to the search for
non-hormonal solutions. Several effective non-hormonal
drug therapies have been identified, but they are not
always effective, and not all women can use them because
of side effects. These limitations have led researchers
to explore non-drug agents.

They have studied a variety of herbal and dietary
supplements in randomized, placebo-controlled trials,
including vitamin E, black cohosh and soy, but none has
shown to produce any significant reduction in frequency
or severity of hot flashes.

The 29 participants in Mayo’s clinical trial were women
with bothersome hot flashes who did not want to take
acidic estrogen because of an increased risk
of cancerous breasts. They also had not received
(in the preceding four weeks) antineoplastic
chemotherapy, androgens, hormonal agents, or other
herbal supplements, including soy.

Some patients did not complete the trial, but full
data for six weeks of flaxseed therapy, consisting
of 40 grams of crushed flaxseed ingested daily,
was obtained from 21 of them.

Participants were asked questions that the researchers
translated into a hot flash score — a combined measure
of frequency and severity. The frequency of hot flashes
decreased 50 percent over six weeks, and the overall hot
flash score decreased an average 57 percent for the women
who completed the trial. Participants also reported
improvements in mood, joint or muscle pain, chills and
sweating; which significantly improved their
health-related quality of life.

“We are quite pleased with the improvements noted by
these women in their quality of life,” says Pruthi.

“Not only does flaxseed seem to alleviate hot flashes,
but it appears to have overall health and psychological
benefits as well.”

Pruthi’s team chose to research flaxseed because it
is a phytoestrogen (plant-based anti-estrogen source).
Flaxseed contains lignans and omega-3 fatty acids.
Lignans are antioxidants with weak anti-estrogen
emulating characteristics, and have some anti-cancer
effects. Flaxseed also appears to have anti-estrogen
properties and has been shown in some recent research
trials to decrease the risk of cancerous breasts.

The researchers hypothesized that patients taking
flaxseed might gain some relief for hot flashes.

This pilot trial was designed to determine the
effectiveness of flaxseed in alleviating hot flashes
and identify possible side effects. Pruthi cautions
that the results are preliminary and taking flaxseed
may not give relief to every woman suffering hot

“While results were promising, we have more research
to conduct,” she says. “Oftentimes, pilot studies show
promising results that upon further study in a large,
randomized placebo-controlled study turn out to be
much less remarkable.”

Dr. Robert O. Young, a research microbiologist, states
that, “a hot flash is the body’s mechanism to move
dietary and metabolic acids out through the spores of
the skin. The use of flaxseed/flaxseed oil, olive oil,
and avocado oil are excellent for buffering excess
dietary and metabolic acids, which are the cause of
hot flashes. Bottom line when you reduce acidity you
will reduce hot flashes.”

For more information on the oils that will help support
the alkaline design of the body, go to:


To become part of our alkaline community go to:


To read more on Dr. Young’s New Biology go to:


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