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STUDY: Flax good prostate food
JOURNAL: Urology 2002;60:000-000.
AUTHORS: Dr. Wendy Demark-Wahnefried
ABSTRACT: In mice genetically engineered to develop prostate cancer, a diet supplemented with flaxseed, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, inhibits the growth and development of prostatic carcinoma.
COMMENTARY: A team of scientists from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina reports these findings in the November issue of the journal Urology.
The Duke team randomized 135 male 5- to 6-week-old transgenic mice to a normal mouse diet, the control group, or to a mouse diet supplemented with 5% flaxseed, the experimental group. The animals were sacrificed either at 20 or 30 weeks.
Three percent of flaxseed-fed mice did not develop prostate cancer at all. All of the control mice developed the disease.
According to the team, significant between-group differences in tumor growth and development were evident. Tumor weight was 1.9 grams in flaxseed-fed mice compared with 3.6 grams control mice (p = 0.0005). Tumors in flaxseed-fed mice were also "significantly less aggressive" than tumors in control mice (p = 0.01) and had a higher rate of apoptosis (p < 0.0001).]
While not reaching statistical significance, the prevalence of lung and lymph node metastases was lower in flaxseed-fed than control-fed mice.
This study builds on two other studies published recently by the Duke team. In a pilot study reported in July 2001, they found that men with prostate cancer who ate a low-fat diet supplemented with ground flaxseed for 34 days saw a drop in testosterone and a trend toward lower prostate specific antigen (PSA) level. The diet was well tolerated.
In another study, published in November 2001, flaxseed-derived lignans blocked the growth of three distinct human prostate cancer cell lines.
Adding flaxseeds to the diet would be a wise step toward promoting prostate health.