Doctor's Note

For background on BPH (enlarged prostate), a condition that affects millions of men, see yesterday's video-of-the-day Some Prostates Are Larger than Others. If flax seeds alone can so dramatically affect prostate cancer cell growth, what about an entire diet based on plants? See Developing an Ex Vivo Cancer Proliferation Bioassay and Is It the Diet, the Exercise, or Both?. In the next video-of-the-day Prostate Versus a Plant-Based Diet, that same question will be explored for BPH. What else can flax seeds do? See Breast Cancer Survival and Lignan Intake, Flax and Fecal Flora, and Just the Flax, Ma'am. What about garlic and onions? See New Mineral Absorption Enhancers Found, Pretty in Pee-nk, and #1 Anticancer Vegetable. We've seen the poultry's-the-worst story before: EPIC Findings on Lymphoma, Chicken Dioxins, Viruses, or Antibiotics?, Poultry and Penis Cancer, and Poultry Exposure and Neurological Disease.

For some context, please check out my associated blog posts: Treating an Enlarged Prostate With DietVegan Men: More Testosterone But Less Cancer Pollutants in Californian Breast TissueFlaxseeds for Prostate Cancer, and Treating Breast Pain with Flax Seeds.

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  • http://nutritionfacts.org/ Michael Greger M.D.

    For background on BPH (enlarged prostate), a condition that affects millions of men, see yesterday’s video-of-the-day Some Prostates Are Larger than Others. If flax seeds alone can so dramatically affect prostate cancer cell growth, what about an entire diet based on plants? See Developing an Ex Vivo Cancer Proliferation Bioassay and Is It the Diet, the Exercise, or Both?. In the next video-of-the-day Prostate Versus a Plant-Based Diet, that same question will be explored for BPH. What else can flax seeds do? See Breast Cancer Survival and Lignan Intake, Flax and Fecal Flora, and Just the Flax, Ma’am. What about garlic and onions? See New Mineral Absorption Enhancers Found, Pretty in Pee-nk, and #1 Anticancer Vegetable. We’ve seen the poultry’s-the-worst story before: EPIC Findings on Lymphoma, Chicken Dioxins, Viruses, or Antibiotics?, Poultry and Penis Cancer, and Poultry Exposure and Neurological Disease.

    If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

    • HemoDynamic, M.D.

      Just the Flax Ma’am!  said Joe Friday!  TGIF (Thank God For Flax!)

  • Rick

    Great video.  Aside from limiting the side effects of an enlarged prostate, are there any plant based foods that can actually shrink it?  What is feeding prostate growth?

    • http://www.DonForresterMD.com/ Don Forrester MD

       Studies at this time only point to decreasing growth and not actually reversal. Hopefully future studies will answer your question so stay tuned for the latest in science. For now we will have to limit the growth of our prostates and lower our risk of prostate cancer by eating well. We want to avoid if possible the one proven way to reduce prostate size… surgeries such as TURP’s! Best wishes.

      • Rickfla

        Thank you, Dr. Forrester!  I appreciate it.  Would female hormones shrink it over a short period of time, lets say a year?  Drastic I know, but I was just wondering.     

        • zzgorme

          I find eating a few Indian Gooseberries (Amla) a day has an enormous effect.

  • Traxmom

    This is soooo timely! My stepdad was just diagnosed with enlarged prostate at 82 years old. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • Jo

      Ditto! A very timely study indeed. 

  • Shane

    Dr Greger – Do you have an opinion on CHIA seeds ?

    Like flaxseeds they are also high in omega 3 fatty acids but have advantages of less susceptible to rancidity and unlike flax don’t need to be ground to get the benefits.

    • Thea

       Shane:  I am not speaking for Dr. Greger.  However, I thought you might be interested to know that Dr. Greger does have a video on Chia seeds.  Take a look and see if that answers your question.

    • Toxins

      Check out this video on Chia vs flax here
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/flaxseeds-vs-chia-seeds/

  • Rckamen2

    You are a bright burning candle of light, Dr. Gregor! As a practicing nurse, I am so happy to hear an MD trying to PREVENT disease and offer non harming ways of relieving it! Bravo to you! thank you!

  • George

    Dear Dr Greger

    Thanks for your usual dose of useful info. Are transcripts of your videos available?

    All the best –george

  • Skimelman

    Should we freshly grind the flax seed, use flax seed whole, or is the
    flax meal ok.  Thank you-Steve

    • Thea

       Skimelman:  The one think you do not want to do is eat the flax seed whole, unless you chew very very carefully.  The reason is that whole flax seed passes through you without being digested.  (Dr. Greger has a video about this if you want outside confirmation.)

      So, the big question is whether to grind it fresh yourself or buy it pre-ground.  What I have heard is that ground flax seed can start to go rancid quicker than non-ground.  So, my advice is: if you decide to buy it pre-ground, try to get as fresh as possible.  Then, as Dr. Greger says, be sure to store it in an airtight container.

      FYI: Just to be safe, and because it is just so darn easy, I grind my own flax seed.

      • Han

        I chew flax seeds myself. It’s pretty easy to feel if you missed one. It’s really not that hard. Just take your time for it.

        • Thea

          Han: Good for you for having the patience. It is not something I would enjoy doing. But if you have the interest in doing so, why not.

          • Han

            And I tried all kinds of other methods and it always got messy. ;-)

  • Air Dance

    Should ground flaxseed be eaten cold or can it be included in hot items such as oatmeal?

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/ Michael Greger M.D.

      You can apparently even boil it without losing the omega-3’s. And the anti-cancer lignans don’t appear to be affected by cooking either. Bon appétit!

  • MickeyMouse

    Dear Dr. Michael Greger.

    I thank you for this info. My husband just recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. But his urology DR. Said he definitely not recommend healthy diet, such as plant based whole foods to treat cancer. He said he dose not believe healthy diet. Why most DR.s are against healthy living for the cure? Seems like they only learned at meds school to give prescriptions and surgery? or are they just corroborating with pharmaceutical company?

    • Wegan

      He needs a new Dr.

    • Han

      His DR is afraid of losing a patient.

  • Barton van Buskirk

    Natural supplements and Skincare products from Xtend-Life Natural products, New Zealand
    THIS IS THE BEST SUPPLEMENTS I HAVE EVER FOUND YOU CAN READ ON THERE WHAT TO TAKE FOR BEST RESULTS JUST AN IDEA HOPE IT HELPED

  • Mike

    Hello…just a question on the Flax Seeds. How do we eat flax seeds? I mean we need to eat with something or cook or raw. Sorry its just that I have never eaten flax seed so wanted to know.thank you. Mike

    • floridabuzz

      Hi. You have to grind flax seeds in order to digest them. I grind them in my Vitamix. It only takes a few seconds.

    • Toxins

      Hi Mike, its best to buy them pre ground. I find them best in oatmeal. You don’t need to cook flax before eating, its just like sesame seeds with a different taste. It is important to get them pre ground so that you can absorb whats within, otherwise you have to bite down every seed.

    • Thea

      Mike: Some people really do like to just carefully chew raw flaxseeds. (As your other replies indicate, the seeds must be ground or carefully chewed.) But most people grind up their flaxseeds and eat them one or a combination of these ways:
      1) sprinkled on oatmeal (works great! and is my preferred method),
      2) put into smoothies (also works great if you like smoothies),
      3) sprinkled on various foods eaten throughout the day.

      For #3: Suppose your goal is to eat 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed a day. So, you could put some on your morning oatmeal. Some on top of your lunch salad. And some in your dinner soup or stew. Etc. Flaxseed seems to work pretty well added last minute to all sorts of dishes.

      On the question of cooked vs raw: I haven’t seen any evidence that cooking necessarily hurts the ground flaxseed, but most people tend to put their flax in cold dishes or on top of hot dishes after the food has already been cooked. (I’m talking about ensuring daily flax intake – not using “flax eggs”, in which case the flax would definitely be cooked into the food, but probably not in big enough quantity to be medicinally useful.)

      Does that help?

  • Wade Patton

    Saw Palmetto has always worked for me so long as i take a pill every other day or so. I do quite notice it when i forget for too long, then I double dose for a couple of days to eliminate symptoms. I’ll be adding flax seed to the diet next, I’d rather eat seeds than pills. I’m late 40’s, occasional omnivore-becoming veganish.