Flaxseed Does Not Help Hot Flashes
Flaxseed is often suggested as a treatment for hot flashes. There have been expressed concerns that flaxseed is a plant estrogen and might, therefore, not be a good idea for women who have estrogen receptor positive breast cancers. There has not, to my knowledge, been a suggestion that flaxseed is not helpful. Until now.
This is a report from Medscape regarding a study being presented today at ASCO. Here is the introduction and then a link to read more:
'Surprising' Result in Flaxseed-for-Hot-Flashes Study
June 5, 2011 (Chicago) — In what the lead investigator called a "surprising" result because it contradicts preliminary research, the dietary supplement flaxseed did not significantly reduce hot flashes in postmenopausal women with or without breast cancer in a phase 3 trial.
The study was presented here at the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2011 Annual Meeting.
Hot flashes are a "common" symptom that women experience during menopause and during antiestrogen treatments for breast cancer, said lead study Sandhya Pruthi, PhD, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, at a meeting press conference.
It has been theorized that flaxseed is a possible treatment for hot flashes because it is a source of dietary lignans, which are phytoestrogens, said Dr. Pruthi. However, the trial got its start on a less intellectual basis — in Dr. Pruthi's office at the Mayo Clinic, when a patient told her about using flaxseed for hot flashes.
In the trial, 188 women were randomized to eat a daily flaxseed bar containing 410 mg of lignans or a placebo fiber bar; the participants all reported at least 28 hot flashes per week at enrolment.
After 6 weeks, mean hot flash scores were reduced by 4.9 units in the flaxseed group and by 3.5 units in the placebo group; the difference was not statistically significant (P = .29).
In both groups, a little over a third of the women experienced a 50% reduction in their hot flash scores.
"The results were surprising. Pilot study data suggested that flaxseed use was associated with reduction in hot flashes," Dr. Pruthi said in a press statement, referring to a previous 30-patient study with a different method of flaxseed ingestion.