Transcript: Was It the Flax Seeds, Fat Restriction, or Both?
Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.
Preliminary, but impressive results. A flax seed-supplemented, lower-fat diet appeared to decrease cellular proliferation rates in men with precancerous changes in their prostates. “However, given the composite nature of the intervention [both a lower-fat diet and flax seeds], it is unknown whether the effects can be attributed to flaxseed supplementation, a fat-restricted diet, or both factors [working together].”
To figure that out, you’d have to design some study where you split men into four groups: a control group; a flaxseed-only group; a lower-fat-only group; and then, a flaxseed-and-lower-fat group. And, so, that’s exactly what they did.
161 prostate cancer patients, at least 21 days before their prostate removal surgery, were randomly assigned to one of those four arms. And, as the title describes, it was apparently the flax seeds, but not dietary fat restriction alone, that reduced prostate cancer proliferation rates in men pre-surgery.
Here are the numbers. Whether they were eating their usual or lower-fat diet, it was the men eating the flax that saw their tumor proliferation rates significantly drop. Though, if you look at what they actually ate, the “low-fat” diet groups never got down to the target 20% calories from fat. They did drop their fat intake, but you could hardly call a 25-28% calories from fat a low-fat diet. Still, the lower-fat groups were the only ones who saw a significant drop in cholesterol and body weight, so there are certainly benefits.
Bottom-line, further studies are needed before we can definitively support flax seed supplementation as a proven complementary therapy for prostate cancer. To date, however, the evidence suggests that flax seed is a good, low-cost source of nutrition, and it’s well-accepted and safe to use. So, why not give it a try?
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