As a woman, your doctor will advise you to undergo mammograms every year as a preventative measure against breast cancer. Yet, no matter how many mammograms you have taken, it will not stop this deadly disease or increase your chances of survival. Don’t give up hope as you’ll be surprised that the nature does offer something to reduce the mortality rate of breast cancer.
Most women are not aware that flaxseed is blessed with anti-cancer properties. Flaxseeds contain lignans, a class of phytoestrogens or plant estrogens that function as antioxidants. This miraculous estrogen can protect you from breast cancer in 6 ways.
- Lignans interrupt estrogen receptors. Phytoestrogens like lignans are weaker than human estrogen by hundreds of times. They bind estrogen receptors and interfere the activity of stronger cancer stimulating human estrogens and xenoestrogens which have estrogen-like effect. You can say that they work like Tamoxifen, a cancer medication.
- Lignans can stop the tumor cell from multiplying. Your digestive system will breakdown lignans into 2 compounds that are similar to estrogen, which travel through the liver. They can prevent the tumor from progressing.
- Lignans stimulate the productions of protective estrogens. When the estrogen enters into the liver, the metabolism will create three different metabolites. Two of them are known to encourage the growth of breast cancer cells. The other one which is known as 2-OH estrone is a protective metabolite which does not promote cancer growth. Lignan can change the metabolism in the liver by boosting the output of 2-OH estrone and lowering the output of the other two cancer stimulating metabolites.
- Lignans inhibit blood flow to the tumor. For tumors to proliferate, they require angiogenesis or new blood vessels to provide essential growth factors such as oxygen and nutrients. Without sufficient blood supply, angiogenesis cannot supply growth factors that the tumors need.
- Flaxseeds reduce the risk of metastasis. According to a study, an animal with rich flaxseed diet has showed a lower metastasis risk by 82% than the control group.
- Lignans reduce the production of estrogen. The production of estrogen needs aromatase, an enzyme. Lignans block aromatase, reducing the level of estrogen. The proliferation of breast cancer is linked to high estrogen levels.
Flaxseeds are not the only plant that is rich with lignans. However, compared to other plants, the levels of lignans in flaxeeds are hundred times more.