Plant lignans are getting a lot of positive press at the moment, particularly among alternative health publications, but not many people fully understand the true importance of these readily digestible polysaccharides. Did you know, for example, that regularly supplementing your diet with a good source of plant lignans could help to promote hair growth, and guard your cells against the development of certain cancers?
What Are Plant Lignans?
Plant lignans are important phytochemical compounds found in the cell walls of certain plants including:
- Broccoli Sprouts
- Barley grass.
When they are metabolized by microflora in your intestinal tract, plant lignans are converted into more bio-available mammalian lignans like enterodiol and enterolactone, which have both an antioxidant and an estrogenic affect on your internal systems; binding to estrogen and testosterone receptors throughout your body, and helping to scavenge any oxygen free radicals in your tissues.
Because of their ability to displace estrogen from specialized receptors throughout the human body, plant lignans have been increasingly linked to the prevention of breast cancer, which is understood to be caused, at least in part, by unusually high estrogen levels. Some plant lignans have also been linked to the prevention of testicular cancer for the same reason, and it’s widely understood that lignans like secoisolariciresinol diglycoside (SDG), which is found in flax and broccoli seeds, can inhibit the development of colon cancer by neutralizing the harmful oxygen free radicals often associated with its development
The antioxidant properties of plant lignans like SDG are also useful in reducing inflammation-based health conditions, and alleviating joint and muscle pains.
How can Plant Lignans Help Me?
Ensuring that your diet is supplemented by a good source of bio-available plant lignans could help you to inhibit the cancer-promoting properties of estrogen, and increase your resistance to both breast and ovarian cancers. Numerous clinical trials have also shown that the beneficial antioxidants provided by plant lignans can help to:
- Reduce the harmful inflammatory tumours caused by Cushing’s Disease
- Reduce swelling and joint pain
- Inhibit the development of testicular cancer by binding to testosterone in your blood stream
- Prevent the development of diabetes mellitus by binding to and neutralizing the reactive oxygen species implicated in its development
One Japanese case study also showed that the plant lignans in flax seed oil could help to inhibit the production of DHT; the hormone responsible for hair loss.
Where Can I Find Plant Lignans?
Plant lignans are present in the cell walls of a number of plants, but the highest concentration of plant lignans can only be found in flax and sesame seeds. Of these two sources, only flax contains SDG, or secoisolariciresinol diglycoside , which is the primary plant lignan implicated in the prevention of breast cancer and the treatment of Cushing’s disease.
You can also now get specially formulated hi-lignan flax seed oil that contains flax seeds selected for their high concentration of SDG and other plant lignans. Take care when shopping for flax seed oil though; it’s important to pick cold-pressed oil that’s packaged in heat and light proof plastic bottles as the omega 3 fatty acids in flax oil are very delicate.
If you need help selecting the right flax seed oil, or you want to learn more about the health benefits of plant lignans, why not contact us here, or ring us on 01764 662111 for an obligation free chat? We are always happy to help our clients make the most informed choices, and we’re passionate about equipping everyone with the knowledge that they need to improve their health.