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Flaxseed ineffective for reducing hot flashes, study finds

Sept. 9, 2011

By Patricia Nicholson

In a clinical trial, flaxseed did not reduce hot flashes any better than placebo.

Hot flashes are a common symptom during menopause, and also after breast cancer treatment. In 2007, a pilot study suggested that flaxseed, which is very high in lignans (a nutrient that may have health benefits), might be beneficial in treating hot flashes. To test whether flaxseed could be helpful for women with hot flashes, researchers at the Mayo Clinic designed a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

The study included 188 postmenopausal women, some of whom were breast cancer patients. The participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups: the flaxseed group, in which the participants ate a flaxseed bar containing 410 milligrams of lignans every day for six weeks; and a placebo group, in which participants ate a daily bar that did not contain flaxseed.

After six weeks, there was no significant difference in changes in hot flashes between the flaxseed group and the placebo group. While flaxseed may provide dietary benefits such as fibre, the study results suggest it is not effective for reducing hot flashes.

The study was published online in the journal Menopause on Sept. 7, 2011.

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  • A publication of:
  • Women's College Hospital