This post highlights flax and cancer. There are health benefits of flax oil and seed in relation to cancer treatment and prevention. Flax is not a cancer cure, but should be part of a healthy diet that supports normal cell development and growth because it minimizes carcinogenic influences on cellular activities.
Lilian U. Thompson Ph.D of the University of Toronto is one of the world’s leading authorities on flax’s human health benefits. She has studied the benefits of flax lignans at the early promotional stage when cancer has not quite formed, as well as the use of flax in reduction of already established mammary and colon tumor cells, both with positive indications. At Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha Nebraska, researchers have similar findings in relationship to melanoma cells. Duke University has impressive studies on flaxseed and prostate cancer, lowering testosterone and PSA, and increasing the number of dead tumor cells in an average of 34 days.
Lignans support normal cell multiplication and reduce cancer risk. A lignan-rich diet can minimize cancer spread (metastasis). Lignans in flax have anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal properties and contain powerful antioxidant capabilities. This is a tumor-fighting recipe.
As a rule, oils high in omega-6 fatty acids promote malignant growth, while oils high in omega-3 block it. It is the type of fat that matters, not the amount. Researchers have been exploring the link between fatty acids and cancer for over 20 years. One of the most common outcomes of omega-3 use in cancer studies worldwide, is the reduced growth rate of cancer cells. Studies have shown a handful of ways this takes place including: competitive uptake of fats and enzymes, membrane saturation, and gene expression. Overall, omega-3’s seem to promote cancer cell self-destruction and increase die-off.
Omega-3 fatty acids also make cancer cells more vulnerable to free radical attack, thereby enhancing the effects of both chemotherapy and radiation.
The responsible conclusion to this synopsis is that there are many reasons to get lignans and omega-3’s into your daily diet to support normal cell function. Given the high concentration of lignans and omega-3 fatty acids in flax oil and seeds, the most obvious way to achieve this would be by consuming a high-quality milled flaxseed, and/or high-quality, high-lignan flax oil everyday.
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