Flaxseed for Hot Flashes?

By Anna Roufos, January/February 2008

Recent research suggests it might just help.

"As a little child my grandmother gave us flax seed water to cool us off she said. We live in the tropics and it is hot and humid and we sweated a lot and she gave us this water to drink. No one can remember how she prepared it. Do you...

New research suggests that lignans, estrogen-like compounds in flaxseeds, may help relieve hot flashes. In the pilot study, 28 women consumed four tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily—two in the morning, two at night. After six weeks, the frequency of their hot flashes dropped, on average, from 7.3 to 3.6 a day. Intensity of the hot flashes decreased too. “[Lignans in] flax offer a ‘natural,’ less potent estrogen effect on hot flashes than synthetic hormone therapy,” says the study’s lead author, Sandhya Pruthi, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who is planning a larger study to confirm the findings. Pruthi recommends starting with two tablespoons daily and working up to four. (Note: 4 tablespoons = 190 calories.) Flaxseeds are rich in fiber—2.5 grams per tablespoon—so increasing intake too quickly can cause bloating. Grind whole flax—a coffee grinder works great—and sprinkle it on yogurt, cereal, fruit and salads.

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