Flax Seeds for Menopause

Flax Seeds Contain Antioxidants and Phystoestrogens

Flax Flowers in North Dakota Fields  photo courtesy of NDSU

Flax Flowers in North Dakota Fields (Photo courtesy of NDSU)

Flax Seeds in North Dakota Fields  Photo courtesy of NDSU

Flax Seeds in North Dakota Fields (Photo courtesy of NDSU)

Looking for something for those hot flashes?  Some research shows that using flax seeds for menopause may reduce those hot flashes.

Flax oil could also could be used to refinish your dining room table, but that’s another story.

Be sure you take flax in the right form as there are whole flax seeds, ground flax seeds, cold-pressed flax seed oil, and hot-pressed flax seed oil to choose from. So many choices!

Flax fields in ND

Flax Fields in North Dakota Photo courtesy of NDSU

Lignans in Flax Seed — A Good Thing!

Flax seed, but not the oil, contain a group of chemicals called lignans which have both plant estrogen (or phytoestrogens) and antioxidant qualities. According to a publication from Tulane University, flax seed contains 75-800 times more lignans than any other plant food and may play a role in the prevention of many cancers. It is full of yummy-for-your-tummy fiber and omega-3 essential fatty acids.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids In Flax Seed May Help Depression

According to a 2006 research project (pdf), it looks like omega-3 fatty acids help with depression and should be included with established psychiatric treatment options. They don’t know why this nutrient works yet, but the results have been very positive. Further research is being conducted now.

Grind the Seeds Yourself and Triple the Goodness

You get a triple dose of benefits for your body if you use the seed. Because it needs to be broken down for you to get the goodness, make sure it is already ground or grind it yourself.

Buy Whole Flax Seeds in Bulk

You can buy whole flax seeds in bulk. Grind your own in a coffee grinder and then store them for several months in an airtight container. If you grind only what you need each day you can maintain a bit more freshness. More work but, hey, grinding burns off a couple of more calories. (You could do a few more bumps and grinds and burn off a whole lot more calories, but we digress.) There are some flax seed biscuits on the market, but they probably are whole seed which isn’t helpful. All of the people in this study got indigestion, gas and diarrhea from the flax seed biscuits which had no real impact on their hot flashes. Would you care for some tea with that stomach cramp?

Cold-Pressed Flax Seed Oil Is Best

When you buy flax seed oil, we recommended that you buy the cold-pressed variety shown here. The hot-pressed method uses bleach and other nasty chemicals in the processing. You’re trying to get rid of hot flashes, not the stains in your laundry! Flax seed oil, however, may interact with many medications. Please consult your doctor before using it. Read more about flax seed from The University of Maryland Medical Center. After all, flax seed oil is actually linseed oil which is used as a paint thinner, a wood finish and a preservative. I’m not sure it works the same way on women but if your lipstick begins to run or your wrinkles disappear, please let us know!  And don’t let anyone give you any flack for taking flax.

Some More Research on Flax Seed

Lewis JE, Nickell LA, Thompson LU, et al. A randomized controlled trial of the effect of dietary soy and flaxseed muffins on quality of life and hot flashes during menopause (pdf)

Dodin S, Lemay A, Jacques H, et al. The effects of flax seed dietary supplement on lipid profile, bone mineral density, and symptoms in menopausal women: a randomized, double-blind, wheat germ placebo-controlled clinical trial (pdf)

Lemay A, Dodin S, Kadri N, et al. Flax seed dietary supplement versus hormone replacement therapy in hypercholesterolemic menopausal women (pdf)

Sloan JA, Loprinzi CL, Novotny PJ, et al. Methodologic lessons learned from hot flash studies (pdf)

Pruthi S, Thompson SL, Novotny PJ, et al. Pilot evaluation of flax seed for the management of hot flashes (pdf)