Originally Posted by goody
Thank you so much for this post. We are a family that revolves around nutrition. We eat ground flax seed every day. Does the statement on the flaxseed oil also pertain to ground flax seed?
Ground flax seed is really interesting and seems to be different in its impact than flaxseed oil. Ground flax seed does have some alpha linolenic acid, but not very much - not concentrated as it is in the oil. But it also has lignans and some other elements that appear to be helpful to prostate cancer patients.
Ground flax seed has been an issue for prostate cancer patients for years, especially from the time some preliminary animal research indicated it might be beneficial.
Dr. Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, leading research from Duke University but now at MD Anderson in Texas, did several studies of ground flax seed and prostate cancer. The last study featured 161 patients, a fairly small trial, randomized to four groups and was carefully done according to a review by Dr. Charles Myers, MD. The impressive main result was a reduction in the tumor proliferation rate.
There is at least a theoretical possibility that cancer progression still took place or was accelerated, despite the reduction in the proliferation rate, as cancer progression was not measured; also, the trial was fairly small and has not yet been published in a respected peer reviewed medical journal. That's why Dr. Myers is witholding a recommendation to use flax seed at this time, though he and a lot of us are hoping the results hold up in follow-up studies.
Abstracts from the earlier published research can be viewed by going to the free Government website www.pubmed.gov
and using this search string: " demark-wahnefried [au] AND prostate cancer AND flaxseed ". The research team has submitted its study to a major journal, but it has not yet been published. (I just checked. I heard a presentation by Dr. Demark-Wahnefried at a conference last fall.) The results are available in abstract from the Spring 2007 meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and perhaps other sources as Dr. Demark-Wahnefried gives presentations about them. Dr. Mark Moyad has also commented on this work.
It's also likely that at least one or a few of the nutritional elements mentioned in the original post may be neutral or even harmful for a few of us, because of the way our genes are expressed, while they are helpful to most of us.
For instance, one study suggests that selenium may increase the risk for diabetes for people prone to it, though the evidence for this is fairly weak.) At this point, the research that has been done is just not clear about that for these nutritional elements. Basically we just have to make a decision to use a nutritional element or not, and either way we are taking a chance.
I have decided not to use ground flax seed, though I am tempted. It's a decision each of us must make. If your uncle wanted to start it , he could at least carefully monitor his PSA and see if his rate of PSA increase changed. Of course, it would be impossible to tell the result for sure if he is also changing other dietary and lifestyle practices. If he is already using it, he could try stopping and checking the PSA impact. However, it's hard to be calmly scientific when your PSA is increasing at a rapid clip!
Dr. Demark-Wahnefried does caution patients that the flax seed needs to be fresh, good quality, and properly stored; apparently it can spoil quickly. Perhaps you could comment on that.