Flax Vs. EPA Fish Oil-Which one has more therapeutic value?

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    Flax Vs. EPA Fish Oil-Which one has more therapeutic value?


    Flax Vs. EPA Fish Oil-Which one has more therapeutic value?
    Dr. Phil Maffetone - www.mafgroup.com
    Many people ask the question: "Which omega-3 fat is better, flax or EPA fish oil?"
    While for most people the answer is overwhelmingly, "fish oil," it's important to first understand the metabolism of omega-3 fats to comprehend why fish oil works better for most people.
     
    Omega-3 fats in flax and other vegetable foods must be converted in the body to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) before becoming beneficial series-3 eicosanoids. It is these eicosanoids that provide the healthy benefits of regulating inflammation. Fish oil already contains EPA, but flax must be converted in the body.
    However, the conversion process is a fairly complicated one, and without this conversion flax oil has much less therapeutic value. The conversion can be disrupted by stress and aging. It can be impeded by certain dietary factors such as trans fat, excess saturated fat, sugar, and other carbohydrates, or inadequate protein intake. Moreover, specific vitamins and minerals are required for the conversion of omega-3 fats to EPA. These include vitamins B6, C, E, niacin, and the minerals magnesium, calcium and zinc.
     
    In the case of flax oil, conversion of alpha-linolenic acid in the oil to EPA is significantly less than a 1:1 ratio. Even if the necessary co-factors are present and all other conditions are right for every gram of EPA, it take 11 grams of ALA.
    On the other hand, EPA fish oil derived from cold-water ocean fish already contains significant amounts of EPA, ready for the body to use immediately for making anti-inflammatory eicosanoids. The conversion process cannot be disrupted or hindered.
    Knowing this, why would anyone choose flax oil over EPA fish oil? Some do so because they are vegetarians, and others because they have an aversion to fish. Those who choose flax must be very careful with their lifestyles and nutrition in order to realize the therapeutic value, and they also might need to take much larger doses than if they were taking fish oil.
    Because so many people have learned that fish oil works better for them, MAF BioNutritionals has decided to discontinue Nature's Dose Anti-Inflammatory Flax Formula in favor of its more popular EPA version.

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    I do and he some great points I had never heard before in this article!
    •   
       

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    mmm... big bottle of easy-to-swig fish oil... yum
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    The case seem strong that Fish Oil, certified metal free of course, should be the dominant form of Omega 3 in our diets. Flax still has a place but not as the pirmary source perhaps.
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    fish oil only come in capsules right? i've never seen it being sold in liquid form like flax
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    You can get Cod Liver Oil in bottles. Tastes like crap but you can get it. They also make it "flavored"! Lol! Like Cherry flavor for one!
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    they taste worse than flax oil? i'm really tired of taking 16 tabs of fish oil everyday
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    no ****? *flavored* cod oil?... whoa... talk about gag
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    Mmmmm...mine tastes like Chocolate Cod, what did you get?
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    Hemp Oil beats them all
    For answers to board issues, read the Suggestion and News forum at the bottom of the main page.
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    Where do we get hemp oil bobo?
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    go grab one of those new age hippie types, grab em by their ankles and give em a squeeze.. wring some hemp oil out of em for sure.. always hear them bitching about hemp
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    Originally posted by windwords7
    Where do we get hemp oil bobo?
    You can get it locally from a natural health food store. PF carries it too. Be careful, more than 2 tablespoons and you will gag. Very nutty in flavor and can be overbearing. I think it had the most balanced Omega profile of all the choices.

    Here a short descrition for those not familiar with it from PF:


    Scientific Description

    The perfect balance of omega 6, 3, and 9 fatty acids. The oil is pressed from Hemp Seeds to create a green, nutty tasting oil. Determined to be the optiumum requirement for long term human consumption. In addition hemp oil also cotains smaller amounts of 3 other unsturated fats in GLA oleic acid and stearidonic acid. This EFA combination is not only unique in the vegetable kingdom, but indispensable for cell growth, circulation, immune function, healthy skin, and the prevention of degenerative diseases.

    Bodybuilding and Athletic Supplementation Description

    Hemp oil has been deamed the name "Flax with an attitude"..This oil should be used to maximize the anabolic conjuction between protein and EFA. Continuous use of flax oil can result in an imbalance of EFA in the body. Hemp oil can be used without worries. Hemp seed oil has a good taste.
    For answers to board issues, read the Suggestion and News forum at the bottom of the main page.
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    I thought this was a fairly helpful link on understanding EPA/DHA's therapeutic properties. It corroborates and explains a number of points from the primary article listed above with references. This was originally posted by The_Chicken_Daddy on wannabebig forums.

    http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/70/3/560S
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    MORE REASONS FOR OMEGA-3!!

    1. New interesting article on Brain Development
    Essential fatty acids in visual and brain development.

    Essential fatty acids are structural components of all tissues and are indispensable for cell membrane synthesis; the brain, retina and other neural tissues are particularly rich in long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA). These fatty acids serve as specific precursors for eicosanoids, which regulate numerous cell and organ functions. Recent human studies support the essential nature of n-3 fatty acids in addition to the well-established role of n-6 essential fatty acids in humans, particularly in early life. The main findings are that light sensitivity of retinal rod photoreceptors is significantly reduced in newborns with n-3 fatty acid deficiency, and that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) significantly enhances visual acuity maturation and cognitive functions. DHA is a conditionally essential nutrient for adequate neurodevelopment in humans. Comprehensive clinical studies have shown that dietary supplementation with marine oil or single-cell oil sources of LC-PUFA results in increased blood levels of DHA and arachidonic acid, as well as an associated improvement in visual function in formula-fed infants matching that of human breast-fed infants. The effect is mediated not only by the known effects on membrane effect is mediated not only by the known effects on membrane biophysical properties, neurotransmitter content, and the corresponding electrophysiological correlates but also by a modulating gene expression of the developing retina and brain. Intracellular fatty acids or their metabolites regulate transcriptional activation of gene expression during adipocyte differentiation and retinal and nervous system development. Regulation of gene expression by LC-PUFA occurs at the transcriptional level and may be ediated by nuclear transcription factors activated by fatty acids. These nuclear receptors are part of the family of steroid hormone receptors. DHA also has significant effects on photoreceptor membranes and neurotransmitters involved in the signal transduction process; rhodopsin activation, rod and cone development, neuronal dendritic connectivity, and functional maturation of the central nervous system.

    By Uauy R; Hoffman D R; Peirano P; Birch D G; Birch E E
    Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology (INTA), University of Chile,
    Santiago, Chile. uauy@uchile.cl
    Lipids; 36 (9) p885-95
    United States
    Sep 2001
    Clinical Trial; Journal Article; Meta-Analysis; Randomized Controlled
    Trial; Review; Review, Tutorial

    2. Another reason to take Omega-3 / Omega-3 also play a role in osteoporosis prevention.

    Polyunsaturated fatty acids. Is there a role in postmenopausal osteoporosis prevention?

    OBJECTIVE: To review the effect of a diet supplemented with polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) on prevention or treatment of osteoporosis.
    METHODS: MEDLINE (1966-April 2001), Allied Complementary Medicine (1985-2001), Cochrane Library and Database of Systematic Reviews (1st Quarter 2001) was searched. Five reviews and no systematic reviews were found on this topic in the Cochrane Library. Eleven relevant in-vivo studies were identified on the effect of these compounds on bone. Eight were animal studies and three were randomized control trials (RCT) in human.
    RESULTS: There are two classes of PUFA designated as n-3 and n-6 with alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). These two different types of PUFA differently influence prostaglandin formation and hence modulate bone metabolism differently. These are several in vitro and animal data suggesting that diet with a low n-6/n-3 ratio may have beneficial effects on bone mineral density. Only three, short-term, small studies have been performed in human so far. Two studies, one performed with bone markers and one with bone density showed a positive effect of PUFA on bone. While a third study showed no effect.
    CONCLUSIONS: Preliminary, data have suggested that a diet with a low n-6/n-3 ratio may have beneficial effects on bone mineral density. Further studies are, however, required to fully assess the dose and type of PUFA to be used for optimum bone effects. This may be useful particularly for the prevention of disease in the elderly, since a diet rich in n-3 PUFA has been shown to have additional benefit on the cardiovascular, central nervous system and joints.

    By Albertazzi Paola; Coupland Keith
    Centre for Metabolic Bone Disease, H. S Brocklehurst Building, Hull
    Royal Infirmary, 220-236 Anlaby Road, HU3 2RW, Hull, UK
    Maturitas; 42 (1) p13-22
    Ireland
    May 20 2002

    3. New study on Omega-3 and depression

    Fish consumption and self-reported physical and mental health status.

    OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to assess whether self-reported mental health status, measured using the SF-36 questionnaire, was associated with fish consumption, assessed using a food-frequency questionnaire.
    DESIGN: The cross-national data were collected in the 1996/97 New Zealand Health Survey and 1997 Nutrition Survey, which were conducted using the same sampling frame. Survey respondents were categorised into those who consumed no fish of any kind and those who consumed some kind of fish, at any frequency. Data were adjusted for age, household income, eating patterns, alcohol use and smoking. Other demographic variables and potential confounding nutrients were included in the preliminary analyses but were not found to have a significant relationship with fish consumption.
    SUBJECTS: Data from a nationally representative sample of 4644 New Zealand adults aged 15 years and over were used in this analysis.
    RESULTS: Fish consumption was significantly associated with higher self-reported mental health status, even after adjustment for possible confounders. Differences between the mean scores for fish eaters and those who never eat fish were 8.2 for the Mental Health scale and 7.5 for the Mental Component score. Conversely, the association between fish consumption and physical functioning was in the opposite direction.
    CONCLUSIONS: This is the first cross-sectional survey to demonstrate a significant relationship between fish intake and higher self-reported mental health status, therefore offering indirect support for the hypothesis that
    omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may act as mood stabilisers.

    By Silvers Karen M; Silvers Karen M; Scott Kate M
    Private Bag 11600, Palmerston North, New Zealand:, Wellington School of
    Medicine, New Zealand.
    Public health nutrition; 5 (3) p427-32
    England
    Jun 2002
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    I just picked some hemp oil up today.

    I've always used flax and hate the taste....so I though I'd try this instead. Now, I'm not so sure flax was all that bad


    What does the fish oil taste like.......?

    Does it do okay in a shake?
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    yeah and most of the studies showing the beneficial effects of 0-3s use fish oil and not flax. I still think flax has its place though. I stopped using the oil a while back but i still throw some ground up linseeds into my home made MRP for the lignans. works well.
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    Sears makes a liquid fish oil (omega rx) that is pharmacuetical grade. Looks good but is expensive. I think fish oil concentrate is supposed to be better than health food grade fish oil while pharmaceutical grade is the best. http://www.cardioresults.com/
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    Another liquid fish oil http://www.iherb.com/um3fishoillem.html
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    Cod oil is a great sorce of the active oils, but it also contains large amounts of vitamins A and D, which are fat-soluable. Geting yoo much of these m which is not hard, can have bad consequences.
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    Very true Custom
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    yeah , especially when the whether is hot , ure supposed to go easy on the cod liver oil caps as excessive vit D in the body isnt healthy .
    a few things about fish oil though :
    its better than flax becos caffine(cola, coffee) prevents the flax from converting into EPA ,fish oil is a better choice at this point .
    side effects seems to be the increase in clotting time and affect the immune response (decrease it). [the side effect part was taken from haycock's site , am not too sure myself) .
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    Flax is rich in Omega 3's but also has the Omega 6 and Omega 9.

    I just bought 300 capsules of fish oil at Sams for about 6 bucks

    I hear Barlean's is a good brand of flax.

    I would have to go with the fish-oil as a better bet, only b/c of the exclusive use of Omega-3, which we don't usually get from our diet.
    Last edited by derekmac; 06-27-2003 at 07:27 PM.
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    Twin Labs


    TL makes a couple very good fish-based omega 3 products in liquid form:Emulsified Liq. Omega 3 12 oz. retail 13.95 , and Emulsified Super Max EPA , 12 oz. retail 17.95. Both are mint flavored and very tolerable. During the winter months I always use reg. TL cod liver oil liquid, then switch to one of these during warmer times of the year. I believe Barry Sears of The Zone fame was the first nutrition writer in the early- mid 90's that informed the public that using fish oil instead of flax oil was the way to go, simply put, since the fish has already done the conversion for you, why use flax, with it's complicated bio-chemical gymnastics necessary to make it usable in the first place?
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    This is an old thread, most of these folks are gone.

    But, I do think that Sam's has the best deal on fish oil caps, as mentioned above. Only $6.50 for 300 caps of 300 mg dha/epa.
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    good deal


    damn good price, but do they guarantee screening for heavy metals. Yeah, I see now it's an old thread, just looking around last night, great forum, I'm usually over at 1 fast 400.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmh80
    Only $6.50 for 300 caps of 300 mg dha/epa.

    Is that per cap? Reason I ask is that I have been buying the Kirkland brand from Costco (like $8), 300 caps of 500 mg epa/dha. But that is per serving, which is two caps. If that is per cap, it is a better deal.
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    hemp oil will test postive for marijuana.but will it actually get someone high? or have the effects of maryjane bobo?
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    I hate to bring up this old thread again but i've got a question. Hopefully Bobo can help me out here.

    I've been using flax pretty much exclusively for the last year or so and had always thought that it was superior to fish oil (think i picked this up in my health psyc class). But after reading some stuff about sesathin and using fish oil b/c it's superior to flax got me interested.

    So is this thread still applicable or have new studies shown that flax is a better oil. I eat a relatively low fat diet, and the majority of my fat comes from flax. Just want to know which is the best so that I can go w/that one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sticks
    I hate to bring up this old thread again but i've got a question. Hopefully Bobo can help me out here.

    I've been using flax pretty much exclusively for the last year or so and had always thought that it was superior to fish oil (think i picked this up in my health psyc class). But after reading some stuff about sesathin and using fish oil b/c it's superior to flax got me interested.

    So is this thread still applicable or have new studies shown that flax is a better oil. I eat a relatively low fat diet, and the majority of my fat comes from flax. Just want to know which is the best so that I can go w/that one.
    I could be wrong, but I believe Bobo has a difference of opinion with the Avant guys on this topic. I've read posts on this board by Bobo staying people could get away with only a couple of capsules of fish oil per day. On the avant board, it is recommended to use 3 g of EPA/DHA per day when taking sesathin.

    I've been running about 3g of EPA/DHA per day since I started sesathin in December (I'm no longer taking it). Recovery seems improved, decrease in soreness, and possible anti-depressant properties for me. Since I can use alot less Fish Oil (5 x 600mg EPA/DHA caps per day = 10 g of fat or much less with pharm grade) compared to Flax Seed oil (I need 14-28 g per day to feel some of the same effects), I find Fish Oil better for my diet. For a 40/40/20 diet, I have a little more room for red meat that way too.
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    I like to mix things up; I take 3-6 fish oil caps and maybe 2-3 borage oil, or maybe 1T of flax other days. I mix flax oil w/ natty PB too. I doubt that I don't get enough of the "good" fats given this regimen. I think one of the concerns with huge amounts of daily fish oil is the cumulative overdosing of vitamin D, which is present in the fish oil and not water soluble. Therefore you can't just piss it out, as you would with others like vitamin C, etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by biggjohn
    I could be wrong, but I believe Bobo has a difference of opinion with the Avant guys on this topic. I've read posts on this board by Bobo staying people bould get away with only a couple of capsules of fish oil per day. On the avant board, it is recommended to use 3 g of EPA/DHA per day when taking sesathin.
    .
    I was wondering how much Bobo suggests taking (EPA/DHA)with sesathin?
    I ask because some capsules have more epa/dha then others.

    Thanks SeaHawk22
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    Flax Seed Benefits vs. Fish Oil Benefits

    Flax seed oil benefits are numerous, and as such flax seed has been recommended in recent years as an essential part of a healthy diet. However, new evidence has emerged that although flaxseed is important, fish oil might be an even better source of Omega-3 fatty acids.
    What are flax seed oil benefits and how can it help you?

    Flax seed, also known as linseed, is an ancient crop that has been harvested all over the world. Its therapeutic properties have long been touted, as ancient peoples used it to soothe abdominal pains and aid digestion.

    Flax seed oil contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which have incredible immunity boosting qualities, meaning they can help your body fight off illness and disease. They also contain anti-inflammatory properties which may help manage depression, cancer and even slow the aging process.

    Most people are Omega-3 deficient, which is why it is so important to supplement your diet with them. The main flax seed oil benefits lie in its ALA fatty acid content. However, in order to be optimally effective ALA must be converted to long-chain Omega-3 fats in the body, and many people, especially the elderly, do not have efficient internal mechanisms to achieve this.

    What is a better source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

    Recent studies have shown that fish oil may be a better source for the Omega-3 fatty acids that your body needs. Fish oil, harvested from cold water fish, contains the fatty acids DHA and EPA. Research points to the fact that DHA and EPA have more therapeutic value than ALA found in flax seed oil. Also, DHA and EPA do not have to be converted, as they are already long-chain Omega-3 fats and are easily absorbed in the body.

    So the Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are better for your health than those found in flax seed oil, because they are more easily utilized by your body and are more powerful and therapeutic. You can increase flax seed oil benefits by substituting or adding fish oil to your diet.

    How Can You Find A High Quality Fish Oil Product?

    Only fish oils contain the special benefits of DHA and EPA Omega-3 fatty acids. So it's important that you find a high quality fish oil product so you can get the maximum health benefits.

    Some things to keep in mind:

    1) Natural fish oils are oftentimes contaminated with heavy metals such as mercury.

    2) Most fish oil in capsule form does not come from the country where it is harvested, meaning there are often additives to make sure it stays fresh through all the extra handling and processing.

    3) Many fish oils contain low levels of DHA, which is the most important component.

    Therefore, you need to find a pure fish oil product that does not have any of the drawbacks mentioned above.
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    This seems like good stuff here...

    Artic Cod Liver Oil

    or

    Ultimate Omega

    Haven't tried them yet myself, but I much prefer liquids (flax, fish oil, whatever) to gels/gelcaps, mostly due to the fact that you can get so much more for your money; plus, you can be more exacting with how much you want and how many servings per day, etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by biggjohn
    I could be wrong, but I believe Bobo has a difference of opinion with the Avant guys on this topic. I've read posts on this board by Bobo staying people could get away with only a couple of capsules of fish oil per day. On the avant board, it is recommended to use 3 g of EPA/DHA per day when taking sesathin.

    I've been running about 3g of EPA/DHA per day since I started sesathin in December (I'm no longer taking it). Recovery seems improved, decrease in soreness, and possible anti-depressant properties for me. Since I can use alot less Fish Oil (5 x 600mg EPA/DHA caps per day = 10 g of fat or much less with pharm grade) compared to Flax Seed oil (I need 14-28 g per day to feel some of the same effects), I find Fish Oil better for my diet. For a 40/40/20 diet, I have a little more room for red meat that way too.

    3g of EPA/DHA or 3g of Fish oil (my bottle has 1g capsules that contain 180mg epa and 120mg dha)?
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    Is there any truth to the reported estrogen blocking properties of flax oil? If so, by what mechanism does this occur?
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    The inhibitory effect of flaxseed on the growth and metastasisof estrogen receptor negative human breast cancer xenograftsis attributed to both its lignan and oil components.

    Wang L, Chen J, Thompson LU.

    Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.

    Our previous studies have shown that dietary flaxseed (FS) can reduce the growth and metastasis of human estrogen receptor negative (ER-) breast cancer in nude mice. The aims of our study were to determine (i) whether the tumor inhibitory effect of FS was due to its oil (FO), lignan secoisolariciresinol diglycoside (SDG), or both components, and (ii) whether the effect on tumor growth was related to increased lipid peroxidation. Athymic nude mice were orthotopically injected with ER- breast cancer cells (MDA-MB-435) and 8 weeks later were fed either the basal diet (BD) or BD supplemented with 10% FS, SDG, FO, or combined SDG and FO (SDG + FO) for 6 weeks. The SDG and FO levels were equivalent to the amounts in the 10% FS. Compared to the BD group, the tumor growth rate was significantly lower (p < 0.05) in the FS, FO, and SDG + FO groups, in concordance with decreased cell proliferation and increased apoptosis; however, these did not significantly relate to the lipid peroxidation, indexed as malonaldehyde (MDA), in the primary tumors. Lung metastasis incidence was reduced (16-70%) by all treatments, significantly in the FS and SDG + FO groups. The distant lymph node metastasis was significantly decreased (52%) only in the FO group. Although the total metastasis incidence was lowered (42%) significantly only in the SDG + FO group, all treatment groups did not differ significantly. In conclusion, FS reduced the growth and metastasis of established ER- human breast cancer in part due to its lignan and FO components, and not to lipid peroxidation. (c) 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.




    Dietary flaxseed enhances the inhibitory effect of tamoxifen on the growth of estrogen-dependent human breast cancer (mcf-7) in nude mice.

    Chen J, Hui E, Ip T, Thompson LU.

    Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.

    PURPOSE: This study determined the effect of 10% dietary flaxseed (FS) and tamoxifen (TAM), alone and in combination, on the growth of estrogen-dependent human breast cancer (MCF-7) in athymic mice with or without 17beta-estradiol (E2) supplementation. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Ovariectomized mice received injection with MCF-7 cells, were implanted with an E2 pellet (1.7 mg), and fed the basal diet (BD). When tumor reached approximately 40 mm2, the E2 implant was removed, and mice were randomized to the following groups and maintained at either low (E2 pellet removed) or high E2 level (new E2 pellet implanted) for 6 weeks: (a) positive control with new E2 pellet, fed BD, (b) negative control with no E2 implant, fed BD, (c) TAM group with TAM pellet (5 mg) implant, fed BD, (d) FS group fed 10% FS, (e) FS+TAM group with TAM implant, fed 10% FS. Tumor growth was monitored weekly. RESULTS: At low E2 level, FS regressed the pretreatment tumor size by 74%. TAM regressed tumor initially but later induced an increase so that the tumor size was finally similar to the pretreatment size. A tumor regression >53% was induced by FS+TAM than by TAM alone. At high E2 level, FS, TAM, and FS+TAM inhibited the tumor growth by 22, 41, and 50%, respectively, compared with the positive control. Decreased tumor size was attributable to reduced tumor cell proliferation and increased apoptosis. CONCLUSIONS: FS inhibited the growth of human estrogen-dependent breast cancer and strengthened the tumor-inhibitory effect of TAM at both low and high E2 levels.




    Lignans and tamoxifen, alone or in combination, reduce human breast cancer cell adhesion, invasion and migration in vitro.

    Chen J, Thompson LU.

    Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont., Canada.

    Flaxseed has been shown to reduce the metastasis of estrogen receptor negative (ER-) human breast cancer in nude mice. This study determined whether enterodiol (ED) and enterolactone (EL), metabolites of plant lignans exceptionally rich in flaxseed, and tamoxifen (TAM), alone or in combination, can influence the various steps of metastasis, that is, breast cancer cell adhesion, invasion and migration, of two ER- human breast cancer cell lines, MDA-MB-435 and MDA-MB-231. The inhibition by ED, EL or TAM (1-5 microM) of cell adhesion to Matrigel or extracellular matrices, fibronectin, laminin, and type IV collagen, as well as cell invasion was dose dependent in both cell lines. When ED, EL and TAM were combined at 1 microM, a greater inhibitory effect on cell adhesion and invasion was observed than with either compound alone. ED and EL at doses of 0.1-10 microM reduced cell migration, but TAM had no effect at 0.1 and 1 microM, and exhibited a stimulatory effect at 10 microM. It is concluded that lignans and TAM, alone or in combination, can inhibit the steps involved in the metastasis cascade. Although more investigations are required, the study also suggests that the intake of the lignan-rich flaxseed may not antagonize the effect of TAM in ER- breast cancer cells.
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    Thanks for the info. Did these studies come from PubMed?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redeemer
    Thanks for the info. Did these studies come from PubMed?
    Yes, my search words were flaxseed, lignan, estrogen, tamoxifen, etc.
  

  
 

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