FAQ - Flax & Lignans


Q: What is the difference between flax seed and flax seed oil ?
A. Flax seed oil has the best application where a concentrated form of Omega-3 oil is desired when addressing a particular condition. However, the oil lacks all the other important nutrients that provide so much benefit, particularly fiber, lignans, and protein. Some oils list lignans in its contents. Shake the bottle before use to mix the lignan fiber content. Flax oil must be refrigerated at all times and used within 6 to 8 weeks after opening. An unrefrigerated bottle will last only a couple of days before going rancid, whereas the raw flax seed has a 3 + year shelf life.
Q: How much flax seed should I take ?
A. The recommended daily amount is 2-3 tablespoons of flax seed per person. However, when you first start adding flax to your diet, commence with a teaspoon of ground flax (always grind the flax seed to a fine meal). By starting with a small amount you are allowing your body to adjust to the higher fiber content. Gradually increase the teaspoon until you reach the 2-3 tablespoon level. If using cold-milled flax; remember to keep this refrigerated. Also stay well-hydrated as the flax absorbs water (10-14 times its weight). The recommended daily liquid intake is 64 oz per person.
Q: Why do I need to grind the seed?
A. Grinding the seed is required because our bodies cannot digest the raw seed, whole flax seed will pass through the GI tract undigested. Ground flax seed meal will be utilized by your body more efficiently.
Q. Do I need to keep the flaxseed in the freezer?
A. Flaxseeds have a 3+ year shelf life providing they are kept out of direct sunlight. Once the seeds have been ground, then the flax meal should be stored in an air-tight container and refrigerated or kept in the freezer. It is not necessary to store the whole flax seed in the freezer.
Q: How much flaxseed or lignans should I take daily ?
A. When people consume whole flaxseed, they may consume 1 or 2 tablespoons. This also is a common amount used in research studies. Based on this amount of flaxseed, an average lignan intake would be approximately 50-150 milligrams per day.
Use the Lignan concentrate in the same way you do the flaxseed and along with flaxseed. Add one scoop (1/2 tbsp or 5 grams) of the lignan concentrate plus 1-2 tbsp. flaxseed (ground) to any liquid or food and mix in. For example, we have a protein shake every morning when we add our flaxseed, Lignans, fruit etc. Remember flax is a fiber so you need to ensure you have plenty of liquid (64 oz)
Q: What are Flax Lignans?
A. Lignans are found in most fiber-rich plants, including grains such as wheat, barley and oats; legumes, and vegetables but by far the flaxseed contains the richest source of Lignans, providing 75-800 times more Lignans than most other plant sources.
Flax lignans are contained in the hull of the flax seed and are biologically active phytochemicals with apparent anti-cancer and antioxidant potential. The flaxseed has a particularly rich source of a lignan called secoisolariciresinol diglycodisde (’SDG”). The SDG is converted by bacteria in the colon of humans and other animals to mammalian lignans, enterodiol and enterolactone. Because these mimic some of the effects of estrogens, their plant-derived precursors are classified as phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens work by binding to estrogen receptors on our cell membranes, much like the body’s own steroid estrogen's do. By doing so, lignan phytoestrogens mimic estrogen in the body and can be used as an alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy. It takes approx. 10 gallons (60 lbs) of flaxseed (or 10 x 96 oz containers) to extract the Lignan SDG to produce one 5.3 oz container of Lignan concentrate.
Q: Why are Lignans so special ?
A. We are only just beginning to understand the role of lignans in the prevention of hormone-associated cancers, osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases. Men and women have hormones in their bodies, e.g. testosterone, estrogen and progesterone. The amount of hormones circulating in our bodies varies throughout our life. They influence our health and how we feel.
Lignans have a structure that is similar to that of human estrogen. That is why they also are called phytoestrogens (plant estrogen). Although lignans have a weak estrogenic effect (much weaker than human estrogens), they can help balance hormone levels in the body. A shortage of estrogen is supplemented by lignans. However, if you have a surplus of estrogen, the weak lignans can replace the strong human estrogen. This will result in a healthy balance.
Increased phytoestrogens have the potential to lower breast and colon cancer risk. Consistent use of flax seed Lignans has the ability to increase bowel function up to 30% - which means that constipation and colon cancer (among other health problems) are also improved.
Moreover, it has been found that lignans have strong antioxidant activity. Antioxidants help protect our bodies and strengthen the immune system.
Q: What are the health benefits of flax lignans?
A. Flaxseed is recognized to be beneficial to our health. Populations whose diets contain high amounts of lignans or other phytoestrogens—like vegetarians, Asian and Finnish people, appear to have a much lower risk of heart disease and certain cancers. This fact attracted the attention of scientists who have conducted various clinical studies with flaxseed containing lignans. The results suggest that lignans can promote prostate health, breast health, circulatory health, bone health, and help women going through menopause.


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