Study Says Flaxseed Not Linked to Reduced Hot Flashes

October 17, 2011

Research published in the journal Menopause suggests that lignan-rich flaxseed is not effective in reducing menopausal hot flashes.

Research published in the journal Menopause suggests that flaxseed is not effective in reducing menopausal hot flashes.

Because flaxseed is rich in dietary lignans-phytoestrogenic compounds which can mimic estrogen in the body-the food has been purported to offer menopausal relief. But a new phase III, randomized, placebo-controlled trial on postmenopausal women suggests no clear benefit.

Researchers assigned 188 women to consumption of a flaxseed bar or placebo bar daily for six weeks. Both bars contained fiber and protein, and the flaxseed bar offered 410 mg of lignans. Participants recorded their daily hot flashes and were evaluated for adverse health events.

After six weeks of treatment, mean hot flash scores were reduced by 4.9 points in the flaxseed group compared to 3.5 points in the placebo group. Around one-third of participants in both groups experienced 50% reductions in hot flashes. The only noted difference in adverse health effects came in the form of pruritus (itching), with 8% and 1% of flaxseed and placebo participants reporting the condition.

“What women should take from this study is that there is little compelling information to try flaxseed if the objective is to reduce hot flashes,” said lead researcher Debra Barton, PhD, in an interview with Reuters.