Flaxseed and Wheat Germ - A dynamic Duo by Kurt W. Donsbach, D.C., N.D., Ph.D. excerpts taken from booklet
A word from the Author: I have been in the healing arts profession for forty-four years. My decision to become a natural healer was based upon a personal experience, one in which traditional medicine was unsuccessful but chiropractic and naturopathic medicine was ultimately successful. God has been good to me, allowing me to meet some of the most successful healers in the world and to share what I have learned with many, first through my school and later through the three hospitals which were founded under my direction. You are reading this because you have an interest in your health and I commend you.
I became interested in flaxseed primarily because of my work with cancer and the writings of a German physician who proposed that cancer cells cannot flourish in an environment rich in omega-3 fatty acids. The first thing I found out was that the most readily available form of omega-3 was flax oil capsules. Then I learned that it took 15 flax oil capsules to make one tablespoonful of flax oil. Then I learned that flax oil is only one of the many beneficial ingredients to be found in flax. Then I learned that milled flax is different from flax meal because the meal has the oil removed. Next was the fact that temperature has a great deal to do with the content of oil in flax and Canadian flax is, on the whole, a far more nutritious product than that grown in the U.S. You need the benefits of the whole flaxseed, freshly milled.
Got that sinking feeling? Try flax seed - the oil it contains combats depression. A recent British study demonstrated that omega-3 fats reduce even severe forms of depression by normalizing brain chemistry! " This really does represent a breakthrough in the managing of individual depressions," declared the study's coauthor, Dr. Alexandra Richardson. "We really seem to be looking at a crisis here and it's all in the diet," said Dr. Richardson, senior neuroscience research fellow at the University of Oxford in England. "Increasing the intake of omega-3 fats offers no side effects, only nice cosmetic ones such as shiny hair, strong nails and healthy looking skin."
Ground Flaxseed Improves Blood Sugar Levels Ground flaxseed may help to regulate blood glucose levels, especially when incorporated into certain foods which have a relatively high glycemic response, such as bread, according to new research. Study author Sarah Booth notes that "it has been suggested that flaxseed may help to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer due to it's relatively high concentration of both alpha-linolenic acid and non-starchy polysaccharides." When 15 healthy women were tested eating scones containing flaxseeds or just regular scones with white flour, it was determined that there was a significant difference between the rising blood glucose values following consumption of the flaxseed scone in comparison with the white flour scone. The flaxseed scone produced a much more gradual rise in blood glucose. This modulation of the blood sugar can be very significant for diabetics and those who suffer from hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.
Flaxseed and Heart Disease Flaxseed is now gaining considerable attention as a food for its possible role in lowering the risk of heart disease. As an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid, and omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed is currently being investigated for possible heart health benefits. Research has suggested that the omega-3 fatty acids specifically found in fish reduce total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed are not identical to those found in fish, but the body converts them to the same ones. In addition to its omega-3 fatty acid content flaxseed contains significant amounts of soluble fiber, mainly in form of mucilage gum. This is similar to the fiber found in oat bran and pectin, both of which are known to lower blood cholesterol levels. As a side benefit, these mucilaginous gums assist the entire digestive tract to move along smoothly, preventing fermentation, putrefaction and constipation.
Flaxseed and Cancer Researchers at the University of Toronto are testing flaxseed on women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. They have found that flaxseed is a potent source of lignans, which are plant compounds that may interfere with the development of breast cancer by binding with estrogen and reducing its stimulatory effect on cancer cells. Flaxseed contains up to 800 times as much lignans as other foods.
During the study (remember these women had been diagnosed with breast cancer) the women consumed a minimum of 25 grams of freshly ground flaxseed. Several biomarkers, including the rate of tumor growth, were checked to determine any changes that may be linked to lignan ingestion. Although the study is not complete, there has been several indications that the flaxseed supplemented women had a slower cancer growth and decreased blood cancer markers (an indication of less cancer activity).
In a study reported on WebMD "the investigators found that flaxseed oil's ability to reduce tumor growth is comparable to tamoxifen." In another study at Duke University Medical Center on prostate cancer, it was determined that the lignans found in flaxseed bind the androgenic hormones which stimulate prostate cancer. The men were on a flaxseed-supplemented diet for an average of 34 days. Ground flaxseed which had been vacuum-packed was used because of the tendency to go rancid so quickly. The men were instructed to sprinkle 3 rounded tablespoons of the flax on their cereal or mix it into juices, yogurt or applesauce. Researchers reported good compliance and said it was tolerated well because the taste was pleasant.
At the end of the one month study, the researchers reported that the men had significant decreases in cholesterol, total testosterone and free testosterone. While there was a decrease in testosterone levels, they noted that none of the participants in the study suffered decreased libido or sexual dysfunction. There was also a decrease in PSA scores for those with relatively early stage cancer. Even during this short period (34 days) it was noted that there were lower cancer cell proliferation rates and significantly higher rates of apoptotic cell death (cancer cell suicide).