Flax Hull SDG Lignans
Flaxseed & Flax Hull SDG Lignans
What exactly is a lignan?
A lignan is a phytoestrogen (plant estrogen) found in the hulls of flax seed, sesame seeds and other plant sources. This phytonutrient is classed as a polyphenol. Lignans are also found in rye and barley, seeds, fresh fruits and vegetable, but flaxseed has the highest concentration of lignans found in any natural food source. The main lignan in flax seed is secoisolariciresinol diglucoside, or SDG. When eaten, the body converts SDG into enterolactone and enterodial. It is these two mammalian lignans that are linked to better health in both men and women.
Flax Hull Lignan Health Benefits
Flax seeds are the richest source of lignans, containing 75-800 times that of 66 other plants. As little as 50mg of Lignan SDG per day has shown to offer health benefits. Lignans serve an antioxidant role in the plant's defenses against biotic and abiotic factors, and have shown anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity in basic research models of human diseases.Lignans may also have anticarcinogenic activities. Some epidemiological studies have shown that lignan exposure associates with lower risk of breast cancer. Dr. Oz recommends flaxseed lignans on his website, doctoroz.com, and click here for additional sources from the Dr. Oz website.
Studies also suggest that flaxseed and lignans may:
· Support a healthy immune system
· Maintain healthy cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels
· Support a healthy cardiovascular system
· Support and improve overall skin and hair health, such as acne, dry skin, and premature hair loss
· Support healthy brain functions with high levels of omega-3
· Support women’s health --isoflavones found in flaxseed may help relieve hot flashes, cramps, and night sweats
Lignan Sources and History
Flax hull lignans consist completely of only the hull of the flax seed where the SDG lignans are located. Lignans are a group of phytonutrients found in seeds and grains. Flaxseed is known for being the plant containing the highest concentration of lignans, known as SDG (secoisolariciresinol diglycoside).
Premium Gold's Concentrated Flax Hull Lignan product is 90% or better natural pure flax hulls yielding high concentration of SDG Lignans from flaxseed. In prior testing the flax hulls range from 45-60 mg of SDG per gram of finished product. Our product is a food based nutrition facts item that includes fiber, protein, iron, calcium, and an Orac value. This is approximately 7-8 times more concentrated than ground flaxseed, is shelf stable, therefore more effective than flax seed alone. Other sources of lignans such as rye, buckwheat, millet, soy, and barley, yield 2-5 micrograms of lignans per gram (mcg/g) of grain. Flaxseed yields an extraordinary 800 mcg/g of lignans.
Lignans were first discovered in flaxseeds in the mid 1950's. The first interests in SDG lignans arose in the mid 1980's. The lignan compounds have shown such extraordinary potential that they have been studied by the National Cancer Institute for their cancer preventative properties. The SDG lignan not only has anti-cancer properties, it has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. It is also a powerful anti-oxidant. Most of the SDG’s tested for their anti-oxidant activity have shown themselves to be 5 times greater in activity than Vitamin E.
Other Lignan Products
Products claiming "High Lignan Flax Seed Oil" tested by the University of North Dakota have been found to contain practically no lignans at all. That is expected because the lignans are not in the oil; they are in the hull of the seed.
"20% lignan particulates" does not mean it contains 20% lignans, but it means 20% of the product is made up of pieces of the flax fiber shell which does contain the lignans. Since fiber meal contains 1.6% lignans, such a product would contain about 0.35% lignans. If the product is a liquid these particles will settle to the bottom and no lignans will be consumed until you are the end of the bottle unless it is always shaken well before it is poured.
Another product says "up to 30% more lignans than the whole flax seed." This is essentially a product consisting mostly of the defatted flax fiber without the oil. There is no concentration or extract of lignans. Such a product would thus contain about 1.5% lignans, which was the highest level of lignans available until recently.
1. Adlercreutz H., et al. "Excretion of the lignans enterolactone and enterodiol and of equol in omnivorous and vegetarian postmenopausal women and in women with breast cancer"
2. Bakke, J.E., and H.J. Kloesterman, "A new diglucoside from flaxseed". Proceedings of the North Dakota Academy of Science, 1956; 10:1 8-22
3. Adlercreutz, H., Mazur, W. "Phyto-estrogens and Western Diseases" Ann. Med., 19897,29(2):95-120
Prasad, K. "Antioxidant Activity of Secoisolariciresinol Diglycoside derived Metabolites, Secoisolariciresinol, Enterodiol, and Enterolactone" Int. Journal of Oncology, 2000 Oct. 9(4): 220-225
Flaxseed and Cancer Cells
In vitro (test tube) and animal studies have suggested that the lignans in flaxseed may reduce breast carcinogenesis and metastasis (ability of cancer cells to migrate to other parts of the body) (1, 2). Women who develop breast cancer generally have a 10-20% higher concentration of the estrogen hormone estradiol (3). This suggests that the reported anti-estrogenic activity of flaxseed-derived lignans may be health protective in women who have high circulating levels of this hormone. Also, it has been suggested that a high intake of dietary fiber, such as that found in flaxseed, may reduce the risk of cancer by increasing the excretion of carcinogenic bile salts from the colon (4). A randomized, controlled clinical trial of 10g/day ground flaxseed in postmenopausal women showed an increase of the urinary ratio of 2-hydroxyestrogen (2-OH) to 16-á-hydroxyestrogen (16-á-OH) estrogen metabolites, as well as an increase in 2-OH metabolites alone; both of these ratio alterations are considered to be protective against breast cancer (5). Another randomized controlled clinical trial reported a significant, dose-dependent reduction of serum 17â-estradiol in postmenopausal women who supplemented with 5-10 grams per day of flaxseed (3). Since epidemiological studies show approximately 10% increases in 17â-estradiol in breast cancer patients, these findings may indicate a protective effect (3).
When flaxseeds are consumed, their plant lignans, secoisolariciresinol diglycoside (SDG) and matairesinol diglycoside (MDG), are converted in the body to the mammalian lignans, enterodiol and enterolactone; women with a history of breast cancer have significantly lower levels of enterodiol and enterolactone than women without cancer (6, 7). Additionally, lignans can exert anti-estrogenic effects when circulating levels of estrogen are raised, and lifetime estrogen exposure has been linked to risk of breast cancer. The combination of these findings suggests that plant lignans may reduce the risk of estrogen-related breast cancer (6, 7). In addition to the effects of lignans, the fiber found in flaxseeds may help to remove estrogen, as well as other potentially carcinogenic compounds, from the body (8, 4).
Clinical research has suggested that flaxseeds may beneficially alter levels of compounds that are used as markers for risk of breast cancer development. An increased ratio of the estrogen metabolites 2-hydroxyestrogen (2-OH) to 16-alpha-hydroxyestrogen (16-á-OH) has been suggested to be preventive against breast cancer. In clinical trials, 5-10 grams of daily ground flaxseed consumption has been shown to increase the 2-OH: 16-á-OH ratio (8, 5. High levels of serum17â-estradiol may be another biomarker for increased breast cancer risk, as epidemiological studies have shown an approximately 10% increase in serum 17â-estradiol in breast cancer patients; a randomized, controlled, clinical trial in postmenopausal women supplemented with 5-10 grams per day of ground flaxseed for 7 weeks reported a significant, dose-dependent reduction of serum 17â-estradiol (7).
Flaxseeds have also been beneficial in treating breast cancer in animals. A reduction in breast tumor growth, as well as reductions in levels of compounds involved in tumor growth and metastasis (cancer cells spreading throughout the body), have been shown to occur after supplementing with flaxseeds and/or plant lignan extracts (2, 9). Additionally, breast cancer cells treated with purified enterodiol and enterolactone have been shown to have a reduced ability to metastasize (1). This effect of flaxseed is similar to that of the breast cancer drug, Tamoxifen. The positive effects of flaxseed in these studies have been shown both in breast cancers that express estrogen receptors and in those that do not, suggesting that these effects may be mediated through estrogen-like lignan activity and also by some other, still to be determined, physiological mechanism.(1).
NOTE: The information presented here is for informative and educational
purposes only and is not intended as curative or prescriptive
advice. These statements have not been evaluated
by the Food and Drug administration. This product is not
intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
This information is not intended as medical advice. Its
intention is solely informational and educational. It is
wise to consult your doctor for any illness or medical condition.
1. Chen J, Thompson LU. Lignans and tamoxifen, alone or in combination, reduce human breast cancer cell adhesion, invasion and migration in vitro. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2003;80(2):163-70.
2. Dabrosin C, Chen J, Wang L, Thompson LU. Flaxseed inhibits metastasis and decreases extracellular vascular endothelial growth factor in human breast cancer xenografts. Cancer Lett 2002;185(1):31-7.
3. Hutchins AM, Martini MC, Olson BA, Thomas W, Slavin JL. Flaxseed consumption influences endogenous hormone concentrations in postmenopausal women. Nutr Cancer 2001;39(1):58-65.
4. Adlercreutz H. Does fiber-rich food containing animal lignan precursors protect against both colon and breast cancer? An extension of the "fiber hypothesis". Gastroenterology 1984; 86(4):761-4.
5. Haggans CJ, Hutchins AM, Olson BA, Thomas W, Martini, MC, Slavin JL. Effect of flaxseed consumption on urinary estrogen metabolites in postmenopausal women. Nutr Cancer 1999; 33(2):188-95.
6. Adlercreutz H, Fotsis T, Heikkinen R, Dwyer JT, Woods M, Goldin BR et al. Excretion of the lignans enterolactone and enterodiol and of equol in omnivorous and vegetarian postmenopausal women and in women with breast cancer. Lancet 1982;2(8311):1295-9.
8. Haggans CJ, Travelli EJ, Thomas W, Martini MC, Slavin JL. The effect of flaxseed and wheat bran consumption on urinary estrogen metabolites in premenopausal women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2000;9(7):719-25.
9. Thompson LU, Rickard SE, Orcheson LJ, Seidl MM. Flaxseed and its lignan and oil components reduce mammary tumor growth at a late stage of carcinogenesis. Carcinogenesis 1996;17(6):1373-6.