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Flaxseed oil is nature's richest terrestrial source of omega-3 fatty acids-especially the parent compound of all such fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid. Studies show that most people rarely consume these fatty acids in adequate amounts in their daily diet. Yet omega-3 acids are adept in protecting against cancer, heart disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis) and other inflammatory conditions like Diverticulitis and gastritis, that your body needs omega-3 fatty acids for, i.e. to ward off chronic disease. The best source of alpha-linolenic acid is unprocessed flaxseed oil.
Flaxseed oil is very important for both men and women alike. The risk of heart disease and osteoporosis drastically increases at the onset of menopause. Flaxseed oil will help reduce this risk and can even help to replace hormone replacement therapy.
Not only is flaxseed oil rich in soluble fiber, it also contain lignans, which are hormone like compounds that have been shown to prevent colon and breast cancers by normalizing hormone metabolism responsible for the disease. Lignans are very important to women for normalizing estrogen production and to men for reducing spread of prostate cancer. One gram of flaxseed oil has approximately twice as much omega-3 fatty acids as a gram of fish oil.
The September 2002 of Obstetrics & Gynecology shows that consuming 40 grams of flaxseed oil daily is as effective as oral estrogen-progesterone to improve mild menopausal symptoms and to lower glucose and insulin levels. This study, compared consumption of flaxseed oil daily with oral estrogen-progesterone replacement in 25 menopausal women with high cholesterol (above 240 milligrams/deciliter). Both groups experienced similar decreases of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (bad LDLs), increases in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (good HDLs) and increases of apolipoprotein, A-1. which is known to accelerate reverse cholesterol transport. Additionally, both groups in the study experienced decreases in menopausal symptoms and in glucose and insulin levels, which means that flaxseed oil may play a part in enhancing protection against blood sugar related health problems.
Researchers have found that deficiency of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in sperm cells is one of the markers of impaired male fertility. Christophe A et al, Abstract from 90th AOCS Annual Meeting, Orlando, and Florida 1999 showed that the intake of alpha linolenic acid enhanced semen fertility within 39 weeks.
Department of Nutritional Sciences in Oklahoma State University's study in the April 2002 issue of The Journal of Clinical Endrocrinology & Metabolism wanted to find out whether flaxseed oil could protect the cardiovascular system by improving lipid profiles. Postmenopausal women who were not on hormone replacement therapy were assigned to one of two treatment groups in a double-blind randomized study. Women were asked to consume 40 grams of either ground flaxseed or a wheat based comparative control regimen daily for three months. All women received 1,000 milligrams of calcium and 400 IU vitamin D daily. Results showed that flaxseed oil supplementation lowered both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol by 6%. The comparative control regimen had no such effect. Flaxseed oil also reduced triglycerides by 12.8 percent.
Dr Artemis Simopoulos MD, author of 'The Omega Diet", says that creating an anti-inflammatory diet isn't hard. First adjust your intake of omega-3 and omega-6 oils. Stop using corn oil. Use olive or canola instead. Eat fish 2-3 times per week. Berries are winners, he says. Also, the spice tumeric contains an anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin.
Clinical studies demonstrate that both the lignans and alpha-linolenic acid in flaxseed oil reduce incidence and spread of breast cancer. A study in the November 2002 issue of Cancer Letters further supports this. Angiogenesis is important in tumor growth, progression and metastaticspread. Vascular endothelial growth fact (also WEGF) is one key factor in promotion of breast cancer angiogenesis. In this experimental study, the researchers showed that supplementation of 10% flaxseed oil, the richest source of mammalian lignans, to mice with established human breast tumors reduced tumor growth and metastasis. Furthermore, flaxseed decreased levels of VEGF.
Regular intake of Flaxseed oil will also reduce joint inflammation and soothe the nerves. The American Heart Association also reported positive findings for flaxseed oil in its journal Arterioscleosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. There, a very recent study found that women with increased dietary isoflavone and lignan intake (from flaxseed oil and soy) experienced decreased risk for atherosclerosis and arterial degeneration.