Health Benefits of Flax Seeds

Flax seeds contain nearly 100x more lignans than other lignan-rich foods. When these ground and consumed, the lignans in flax help alleviate period-related breast pain and detoxify the body of excess hormones. Flax seeds are also a great source of Magnesium, Zinc, and Vitamin B1. Learn more about how these superhero seeds help reduce period cramping, PMS symptoms, menstrual migraines, and more below.

 

Lignans

Androgen Annihilator
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affects 10% of reproductive-aged women. This endocrine disorder is characterized by dysfunctional menstruation, excessive androgens (male sex hormones), and polycystic ovaries. Excess androgens contribute to symptoms of excess body hair (hirsutism), acne, hair loss (androgenic alopecia), weight gain, and irregular periods. A large body of research has shown that flax seeds, a rich source of lignans, reduce androgen levels in men with prostate cancer. Less research has been conducted on female subjects, but a promising case study on a woman with PCOS revealed that flax seed supplementation created statistically significant decreases in testosterone (total serum, free serum, and % free). In addition, the patient reported a significant decrease in hirsutism (excess body hair) upon completion of the study.

Hormone Helper
Flax seed is the richest source of powerful cancer fighters known as plant lignans. Shown to reduce the growth of hormone-senstive tumors (e.g. breast and prostate cancers), they're also known to protect against breast cancer altogether. Studies have revealed that these lignans increase the presence of Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG)- a protein produced by the liver that plays a major role in the metabolism and excretion of estrogen. This process is critical to the female body, as excess estrogen (or estrogen dominance) is tied to hormone-sensitive diseases, such as breast cancer, and symptoms ranging from PMS to weight gain. By promoting the the liver's metabolism of estrogen, the lignans in flax seed help reduce excess estrogen in the body.

Breast Pain Banisher
Mastalgia, or the cyclical pain experienced in breasts during menstrual cycles, often manifests as breast congestion, soreness, tenderness, and heaviness. Multiple research studies involving the daily consumption of flax seeds have shown statistically significant reductions in both the duration and intensity of cyclical mastalgia.

Sayonara Cysts
The term polycystic refers to the multiple fluid-filled follicles, or cysts, that appear on women's ovaries when they have PCOS. Although less researched, a promising 2015 study revealed that daily ingestion of flax seeds over three months caused a significant reduction in the number of ovarian cysts, as well as the size of the ovaries in women with PCOS. This same study also showed that flax seed supplementation brought about regular menstruation in 33% of women that had previously faced irregular cycles within the study cohort.

 

Magnesium

Peace Out, PMS
For many, PMS means anxiety and mood swings. It also means physical symptoms: headaches, bloating, breast tenderness.Magnesium can be a game-changer. Studies show that supplementation of Magnesium creates statistically significant decreases in the severity and duration of PMS symptoms- specifically: mood changes, anxiety, depression, weight gain, bloating, breast tenderness, and fluid retention.

Migraine Magic
Menstrual migraines are challenging to treat, often resistant to many over-the-counter drugs. Research is limited, but a promising double-blind study concluded that daily supplementation with Magnesium reduced the pain and duration of menstrual migraines amongst participants.

 

Thiamine (Vitamin B1)

Cramp Curer
Dysmenorhea- a fancy word for painful period cramps- is typically treated with ibuprofen, Midol, aspirin, hormonal birth control. More natural attempts to soothe cramping include hot water bottles, baths, heating pads. But none of these work to treat the cause of cramps. Vitamin B1 has been shown to not only reduced the severity and duration of cramps, but actually completely cured women of this menstrual symptom. One study, in particular, demonstrated that after 90-days of daily Vitamin B1 supplementation, 87% of participants were cured of painful menstrual cramps.

Put an End to PMS
Thiamine, also known as Vitamin B1, has been shown to significantly reduce the overall average mental and physical symptoms of PMS. Research has indicated that women with a high intake of Thiamine from food sources have significantly lower risk of PMS. Studies have also shown that Thiamine is particularly powerful at reducing PMS-related depression and cramping.

 

Zinc

Quality of Life Booster
Research shows that daily Zinc supplementation not only reduces the incidence of PMS, but also improves Quality of Life scores- for both physical and mental categories- for women with PMS aged 20-39. Zinc plays a role in reducing the prevalence and severity of symptoms like mood changes, vertigo, anxiety, weight gain, bloating, muscular pain and weakness. Studies also reveal that Zinc levels drop significantly during the Luteal Phase (Phase 2) in women suffering from PMS, making replenishing Zinc is an important step in managing PMS symptoms.

Inflammation Calmer
Studies show that Zinc supplementation has similar anti-inflammatory effects as medications, like Midol and Advil. Reducing inflammation and allowing for more oxygen flow to the uterus, Zinc can counteract the effects of prostaglandins and reduce both the incidence and duration of painful menstrual cramps, which 90% of American women experience during the first days of menstruation. Research shows that Zinc reduces the severity of menstrual bleeding as well.

 

 

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Sources

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