Flax Seeds vs. Prostate Cancer

Flax Seeds vs. Prostate Cancer
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What happens when men with prostate cancer and prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) are placed on a relatively low-fat diet, supplemented with ground flax seeds?

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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.

Why is there such a huge disparity in prostate cancer rates? The incidence of clinically malignant prostate cancer is highest in African-Americans—some 30-fold greater than in Japanese men, and 120 times greater than seen in Chinese men in Shanghai.

Well, in general terms, the Western diet is one in which animal protein and fat consumption is high, whereas the fiber intake is low. In contrast, the proportion of the total caloric intake from animal fat in the more vegetarian-style Asian diet is low, and the fiber content is higher.

So, maybe diet is playing a role in some of these diseases. But, these healthier diets are not just low in animal proteins and fat, and high in starch and fiber—they are also rich in weak plant estrogens. 

This study, for example, found higher levels of phytoestrogens in the prostate fluids of men in countries with relatively low rates of prostate cancer. In vitro studies have shown lignans can slow the growth of prostate cancer cells in a petri dish. So, a pilot study was launched on flax seed supplementation in men, with prostate cancer, before surgery.

Why flax seeds? Because, while these anti-cancer lignans are found throughout the plant kingdom, flax seeds have up to 800 times more than any other food.  So, they took a bunch of men with prostate cancer, about a month before they were scheduled for surgery to get their prostates removed, and started them on a relatively low-fat diet, with three tablespoons of ground flax seed, to see what effect that might have on the growth of their tumors.

And, though they were skeptical that they would observe any difference in tumor biology in the diet-treated patients with such a short-term dietary intervention, just within those few weeks, they found significantly lower cancer proliferation rates, and significantly higher rates of cancer cell death. Now, this was compared to so-called historical controls, meaning compared to the kind of cancer growth one typically sees in their situation—not to an actual, randomized, control group.

But, a few years later, a study was finally published in which men could act as their own controls. These were men that just got their prostates biopsied, and were scheduled to get a repeat biopsy in six months’ time.

So, they did the same thing. After the first biopsy, they reduced the fat in their diet, and put them on ground flax seeds to see if it made their repeat biopsy look any different. These were men with what’s called PIN, which is like the prostate equivalent of ductal carcinoma in situ in the breast—an early stage of cancer. That’s why they were getting repeat biopsies, to make sure it wasn’t spreading.

And, this is what they found. Significant drop in PSA levels (which is a biomarker of prostate cell growth); a drop in cholesterol (which is what we’d expect with a lower-fat diet, and all that extra fiber); and, importantly, a significant decrease in the cellular proliferation rate. In fact, in two of the men, their PSA levels dropped so much, they didn’t even have to go through with the second biopsy at all.

There hasn’t been much research on this kind of precancerous prostatic hyperplasia, with only four epidemiologic studies reported at the time. They yielded varying findings, with increased risk associated with higher energy, protein, and animal product intake, and decreased risk related to the consumption of alcohol, fruit, and green and yellow vegetables—in sum, a low-fat, plant-based diet, high in phytoestrogens.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

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.

Why is there such a huge disparity in prostate cancer rates? The incidence of clinically malignant prostate cancer is highest in African-Americans—some 30-fold greater than in Japanese men, and 120 times greater than seen in Chinese men in Shanghai.

Well, in general terms, the Western diet is one in which animal protein and fat consumption is high, whereas the fiber intake is low. In contrast, the proportion of the total caloric intake from animal fat in the more vegetarian-style Asian diet is low, and the fiber content is higher.

So, maybe diet is playing a role in some of these diseases. But, these healthier diets are not just low in animal proteins and fat, and high in starch and fiber—they are also rich in weak plant estrogens. 

This study, for example, found higher levels of phytoestrogens in the prostate fluids of men in countries with relatively low rates of prostate cancer. In vitro studies have shown lignans can slow the growth of prostate cancer cells in a petri dish. So, a pilot study was launched on flax seed supplementation in men, with prostate cancer, before surgery.

Why flax seeds? Because, while these anti-cancer lignans are found throughout the plant kingdom, flax seeds have up to 800 times more than any other food.  So, they took a bunch of men with prostate cancer, about a month before they were scheduled for surgery to get their prostates removed, and started them on a relatively low-fat diet, with three tablespoons of ground flax seed, to see what effect that might have on the growth of their tumors.

And, though they were skeptical that they would observe any difference in tumor biology in the diet-treated patients with such a short-term dietary intervention, just within those few weeks, they found significantly lower cancer proliferation rates, and significantly higher rates of cancer cell death. Now, this was compared to so-called historical controls, meaning compared to the kind of cancer growth one typically sees in their situation—not to an actual, randomized, control group.

But, a few years later, a study was finally published in which men could act as their own controls. These were men that just got their prostates biopsied, and were scheduled to get a repeat biopsy in six months’ time.

So, they did the same thing. After the first biopsy, they reduced the fat in their diet, and put them on ground flax seeds to see if it made their repeat biopsy look any different. These were men with what’s called PIN, which is like the prostate equivalent of ductal carcinoma in situ in the breast—an early stage of cancer. That’s why they were getting repeat biopsies, to make sure it wasn’t spreading.

And, this is what they found. Significant drop in PSA levels (which is a biomarker of prostate cell growth); a drop in cholesterol (which is what we’d expect with a lower-fat diet, and all that extra fiber); and, importantly, a significant decrease in the cellular proliferation rate. In fact, in two of the men, their PSA levels dropped so much, they didn’t even have to go through with the second biopsy at all.

There hasn’t been much research on this kind of precancerous prostatic hyperplasia, with only four epidemiologic studies reported at the time. They yielded varying findings, with increased risk associated with higher energy, protein, and animal product intake, and decreased risk related to the consumption of alcohol, fruit, and green and yellow vegetables—in sum, a low-fat, plant-based diet, high in phytoestrogens.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to National Cancer Institute

Doctor's Note

Slowing the Growth of Cancer is good, but how about Cancer Reversal Through Diet? In other words, if one plant could do that, what about a whole diet chock full of plants? See my video series that goes from Ex Vivo Cancer Proliferation Bioassay (by actually Engineering a Cure) to The Answer to the Pritikin Puzzle. And, for benign prostate gland enlargement, see Prostate vs. Plants, and Prostate vs. a Plant-Based Diet. And, for background, also see Some Prostates Are Larger than Others.

What about for breast cancer? See Breast Cancer Survival and Lignan Intake. More on these wonderful seeds in Flax and Fecal Flora. See how I use them in my smoothies (A Better Breakfast), and, my oldie but goodie, Just the Flax, Ma’am.

What about chia? Find out which seed is better in Flax Seeds vs. Chia Seeds.

Since the dietary intervention involved both flax seed consumption and reducing fat intake, how do we know flax had anything to do with it? That’s the subject of my next video: Was It the Flax Seeds, Fat Restriction, or both?

For additional context, check out my blog posts: Flax Seeds for Prostate CancerTreating Sensitive Skin From the Inside Out; and Flax and Breast Cancer Survival.

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

69 responses to “Flax Seeds vs. Prostate Cancer

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  1. Obesity and obesity-related diseases increase the risk of prostate cancer (vegans weigh less than meat eaters), high concentration of IGF increase the risk of prostatecancer (higher level with animal fat and animal protein intake), dairy intake increase the risk of prostatecancer (IGF, high calcium intake). Lycopene has also been demonstated to have a positive effect in prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia. Will this make meat eating men reconsider?




    2
    1. Well said, Plantstrongoc. You know as well as I do regarding individuals who undergo a life altering event happens that makes a them reflect on their lifestyle and hopefully there diet. People ask all the time. How can I get this weight off? I tell them use positive words like fit and healthy and eat plants and lots of it :).




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      1. Brian,
        and the good news is that you can improve your health even when you are ill, by switching to a plant based diet, and even avoid surgery. The body has great capacity to heal, when you remove the cause (SAD). Procedures and popping pills will not make anyone healthy.




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  2. Here’s a question that I have long had: Brown vs golden flax seeds? My store sells both in the bulk bins. Brown are cheaper. I would *guess* that brown are also healthier (have more anti-oxidents and more other good plant stuff???), but I don’t know. If anyone finds any info on this, I would be interested.

    I think both colors of flax seeds taste about the same, but I haven’t really done any side-by-side taste tests, so I don’t know for sure. I think that doing a side-by-side taste test would have to be done carefully: I believe that the brown ones are cheaper because they are a lot less popular. Since they are less popular, it is my *guess* that they are older, even in bulk bins. If that is true, I wonder how much brown might taste different just because it is going toward rancid.

    I struggle on which color to get. I currently get brown, but I wonder if I would get fresher ones just getting the popular color. It just occurred to me, I could probably ask the store how often they replace the seeds in each bin…




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    1. I have read that some golden flaxseeds have been genetically modified, and for that reason I always use brown seeds that have been ground thoroughly in a coffee grinder. I use 6 tablespoons per day and have not had any side effects that I have observed. The Canadian flax seed council, a government agency has done thorough testing of the shelf life of flax seed products, and you can find their paper. I have done this for more than a decade now. After grinding the flax seeds I always refrigerate them.




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  3. Unclear in your series on Flaxseed whether the max benefit is after grinding the seeds or consuming them whole ? Great series; an answer much appreciated.




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  4. What does it mean higher ENERGY, protein, animal protein …

    What does the energy part mean in this video? What is dangerous energy?




    1
    1. Dear Dr. Gregor and Moderators,
      This comment in the transcript referencing ENERGY deserves explanation or clarification.

      “They yielded varying findings, with increased risk associated with higher energy, protein, and animal product intake,”




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  5. This delicious breakfast bowl makes it easy to get your daily 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds which provide the healthiest source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, flaxseeds provide the highest content of lignans (phytonutrients which seem to help in both breast cancer prevention and survival http://nutritionfacts.org/video/breast-cancer-survival-and-lignan-intake/) of any food, and are a great source of iron, zinc, copper, calcium,
    protein, potassium, magnesium, folate, soluble fiber (which can lower
    cholesterol and triglycerides), and boron (a trace mineral key for optimum bone health). http://nutritionfacts.org/video/just-the-flax-maam/

    Berry Berry Good Karma Bowl

    – ½ cup regular rolled oats
    – 1 cup water
    – ½ tsp Ceylon cinnamon http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-safer-cinnamon/
    – ⅛ tsp each, ground cloves, ground ginger, nutmeg
    – 1/3 cup blackberries
    – 1/3 cup organic* blueberries
    – 1/3 cup raspberries
    – 24 almonds
    – 2 tbsp flaxseed meal^

    Bring water to a boil and cook oats with spices and fruit (only if using frozen fruit). Lower heat and simmer oats to desired consistency. Add remaining ingredients to a bowl and top with cooked oats. Stir and top with a sprinkling of uncooked oats and dash cinnamon.

    *Conventional blueberries were found to have the residues of 52
    different pesticides so choose organic. http://www.whatsonmyfood.org/food.jsp?food=ST

    ^Seeds need to be ground for proper digestion. A coffee or seed grinder works well or you can buy ground flaxseed meal.

    Bookmark my new Plant-Based Emporium Facebook page for all my latest recipes.
    https://www.facebook.com/PlantBasedEmporium?ref=stream&hc_location=timeline

    ~Complements of lovestobevegan




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    1. …but if you look at the data, you’ll see a number of flaws. This is not a causal link. Using the same logic, people who smoke and heavy drinkers are also more likely to develop PCa. Also, why do countries that traditionally consume a lot of fish not have increased incidence of PCa? Truly a rubbish study.




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      1. Correct and just FYI saying supplements cause this or that is fine but has little bearing on what the whole natural food from which the supplement is extracted or copied from does when consumed. Unhealthy chemical ridden food cannot be compared directly with the same food in its natural form – in the sense that if you add chemicals to anything it will cause any number of problems. Stop comparing apples to oranges….




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  6. Fantastic video about vegans etc living no longer and why on You Tube! So interesting the stages of the cascade into heart trouble. One needs to watch that lecture three times and take notes to grasp it all.

    May I ask a question on BPH? The idea seems to be to reduce conversion of testosterone into DHT – I think…..

    Flax seed lignans appears to be good for that and reduced average PSA lots in the small six month trial cited but betasitosterol as I understand it
    works the same way being also a 5 alpha reductase inhibitor. I think. Lots of trials on that.

    So are both together better yet?




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    1. I took betasitosterol 160mg a day for four months and could not see much effect. I then added 15 grams a day of flaxseed. After a month my average nocturia rate dropped from average 2.5 to around 1.2. Quite suddenly and it’s stayed down about two months now.

      I thought good prostate effect! But then I realised what was happening was that the flow at night from the kidneys had halved to a normal proportion of total daily flow. I conclude as a layman that this is an effect in normalising vasopressin secretion. Whatever the cause it’s a great result. I think it’s continued too long to be a placebo effect. I need less sleep.

      I read at that point the suggestion that betasitosterol should be taken on an empty stomach. I’d not seen that in the umpteen encouraging clinical trials about BPH. So I’m doing that (middle of night) but it’s a little too early to say whether it will get a result in substantially improving flow rate (which the trials reported).




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      1. Well I could not get any results with betasitosterol anywhichway but nothing works for everyone I understand.

        Flaxseed has continued to work in keeping down nocturia to once a night mostly. Quite a few months now. I take 15 g in the late evening.

        I can’t see any other explanation apart from the flaxseed. Unless it’s a coincidence. That would be a fluke.




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        1. I tried a Saw Palmetto Betasitosterol combo for several months and was still experiencing nocturia 2 – 2.5 per night. I found that reducing my fluid (especially alcohol) intake 5 hours before bed (least 3 hrs before minimum) helped to reduce nocturia to 1.5 on average. I also take 2 rounded tablespoons of ground flax seed each morning in my ‘blended salad’ smoothie. Still looking for a consistent nocturia of 1 or less.




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  7. I was tested with a PSA of 11.1 and was having the typical lower back pain, urinary urgency with low volume, 3 – 4 bathroom trips per night, etc. I immediately went to a vegetarian (W/baked fish weekly) diet based upon cruciferous vegetables and within one year, PSA was 10.0, no lower back pain and no nightly bathroom trips and high volume with no urgency. I refuse needle biopsy, now proven to spread and worsen prostate cancer, and will go to Germany for transurethral hyperthermia if Color Power Doppler Scan reveals tumor(s). Why is American medical treatment (especially cancer) mired in the middle ages, except for the love of old money-generating procedures that are proven not to heal?




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    1. apprin: Thanks for sharing your story. I think a story like this could be really helpful to someone who is trying to make decisions right now about their condition. Good luck.




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      1. Thanks Thea … Am due for another PSA test. If symptoms (or lack thereof) are an indicator, My PSA will have fallen tremendously as nearly ALL symptoms have disappeared.




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        1. It’s a tiny select band who are willing to try things out like this and stick at it over a long period. Most people give up after a week and then complain it appears.
          It requires a scientist’s appetite for experiment and discovery does it not?




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    1. Jeremiah, Because ground flax easily turns rancid and whole flax seeds are relatively inexpensive, it’s best to grind fresh as you need it. If necessary, ground flax can be stored away from light in a sealed container in the refrigerator to help slow rancidity. I took a look to see how the flax was administered and in what form and in the second study listed in Dr. Greger’s citations for this video: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19064574 – if you click on the link, you’ll see the full journal article…basically they administered fresh-ground flax in separate daily, opaque, sealed packets.




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      1. I buy organic ground flax seed by the pound. After opening, I store it in the freezer and have found that it does not go rancid.




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    1. It will have more concentrated sources of omega-3’s and can be beneficial, but the oil goes rancid very fast. Make sure to refrigerate and only keep for a few weeks after opening.




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  8. After watching a number of videos from Dr Greger on flaxseed and it’s many benefits, I have for months been adding 3 heaping teaspoons ground flaxseed in with oatmeal. It even makes the oatmeal taste better.

    As far as the establishment medical community not bothering to do research on this proven remedy. . . is anyone surprised? Imagine how much it would cut into their revenue if many people could remedy their own prostate problems, or prevent it from happening in the first place. . . just by making their oatmeal taste better.




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  9. per Dr G’s videos on flax and prostate I have been adding (2) 39cc scoops of flax seed, fresh ground, into my morning veggie/fruit smoothies for approx 1+ yrs daily. Also saw palmetto and cod liver oil. Also exercising 3x/wk..thought I was growing pectoral muscles but noticed the other day it’s more fatty tissue than muscle…ie i’m growing tits…dr says the estrogen in flax and fish oil and saw palmetto are likely culprits. Would Dr G be kind enuf to comment on this possible connection to gynecomastia. Mine is very subtle(so far) but i can ‘pinch an inch’. I have thrown away my flax seed and saw palmetto for now, not sure if I should dump the cod liver oil as well. any knowledgeable advice appreciated.




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    1. Marko13,
      I, like you, have been using two generous tablespoons of ground flax seed in my ‘blended salad’ smoothies every morning and I exercise 5-6 days a week. I have not been growing tits, but my pecs are very firm and defined. I would recommend dropping the cod liver oil as oil is 100% fat, however I also take purified fish oil every other day for the DHA. So really, it is the overall calories in vs the calories out combined with the intensity level of your workouts.
      Too many benefits from flax seed to eliminate that from your diet!




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  10. Searching this website I didn’t find anything about Johanna Budwig and her curd with flax seed oil dietary treatment against cancer. I’m very curious about the view of Dr Michael Greger on this subject since it’s all about treating cancer with nutrition but in her diet there is dairy involved. Did her treatment actually work and how?




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  11. The terrific book, How Not To Die, makes the great point that to get the benefits of flaxseed it needs to be ground up into powder form.
    Is the same true for sunflower kernels (which I’m particularly interested in) or for any other seed you may know of? Many thanks! Glenn




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  12. What are the risks of consuming flax seeds, chia, turmeric, black cumin seeds and jiaogulan tea daily? Are there negative interactions between them?




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  13. Flax seeds are effective against hormonal cancers such as those of the prostate because it lowers testosterone:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11445478

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2703189/

    http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/17/12/3577.full

    Men who are healthy might want to reconsider flax seed supplementation if testosterone is a concern. Personally, two TBS of flax seed per day lowered my testosterone to undetectable levels, negatively affecting my sex life. My experience was similar to this blogger:

    https://www.nuhs.edu/christian/2011/3/1/testosterone-and-flax-a-male-nightmare/




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    1. Otto: i note that you’ve placed the same comment on multiple videos. You also gave a link to the same study twice in your list, not sure why. I’ll repeat the notes I gave on another video:

      Otto:

      The first study that you provided actually found no change in testosterone in flax intervention subjects. In fact, both of the flax groups ended up with higher testosterone than the control group, though not significantly so. All groups saw a decrease in testosterone, this highlights the importance of reading studies carefully and including controls.

      From the study: “In contrast to our previous studies conducted among men with prostate cancer and those with abnormal biopsies that showed high grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia or foci of atypical cells (5,6), we did not observe differences in PSA change between the study arms. Curiously, all study arms experienced significant decreases in both PSA and testosterone during the presurgical period. While Nakashima et al. (48) report consistent decreases in testosterone among patients from pre-anesthesia to 7 days post-prostatectomy, there are no antecedent reports of decreases in testosterone or PSA during the presurgical period. A handful of reports exist; however, describing declines in testosterone with acute stress imposed in the laboratory setting or observed in community-dwelling subjects under a variety of situational factors (49). Therefore, the decreases in testosterone observed in this study may relate to the acute stress attendant with impending surgery-a decline in testosterone that then drives PSA downward.”

      ———–

      Otto:

      I can’t access the full version of the second study you posted (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11445478), do you have a link? At any rate, it’s important to note that this study wasn’t truly controlled (they compared to some historical patient values), and was confounded by a low-fat dietary change, so we can’t know how much was the diet change, the flax, or any other potential factors since it didn’t have a true control group.

      For your information, please see study below which found no changes to testosterone in a similar group (prostate cancer):

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15134976

      All told, I now see three studies which have investigated the issue. Two of the three found no effect on testosterone (including the only study that was properly controlled). Therefore, i see no reason to conclude that “Flax … does reduce testosterone”.




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    1. Thanks for your question.

      According to these three studies (1, 2, 3), it appears that ALA & lignan’s in flaxseed are pretty heat stable and therefore if you use them in cooking, you will still get most of its benefits.

      Hope this answer helps.




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  14. Few other studies (“Dietary Fat, Fatty Acids and Risk of Prostate Cancer in the NIHAARP
    Diet and Health Study” for example) teaches that there is a direct positive link between ALA (Omega 3 found in Flaxseed) consumption and Prostate cancer. How comes?




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      1. The following are 3 references to huge populations researches, including one who studied w3 concentration in the serum. They all claim that a-Linolenic acid increases the risk of Prostate Cancer. The research you are referring to is a very limited one (n=161).
        a. Serum Phospholipid Fatty Acids and Prostate Cancer Risk: Results From the
        Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial.
        b. Risk factors for prostate cancer incidence and progression in the health professionals follow-up study.
        c. Dietary Fat, Fatty Acids and Risk of Prostate Cancer in the NIHAARP Diet and Health Study




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  15. Adam- I think you’ll find reassurance in the following video to answer your question about potential femininizing effects of phytoestrogens esp in Flaxseeds. href=”http://nutritionfacts.org/video/flaxseed-vs-prostate-cancer and http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-most-potent-phytoestrogen-is-in-beer. Both indicate that you would need considerable doses to anticipate any effect on male hormone balance. The later states: “This is not to say you can’t overdo it. There are two case reports in the medical literature on feminizing effects associated with eating as few as 14 to 20 servings of soy foods a day. But at reasonable doses, or even considerably higher than the one or two servings a day Asian men eat, soy phytoestrogens do not exert feminizing effects on men.”




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  16. Hello. 3 tbp of flaxseed seems to cause diarrhea. (Taken in order to reduce PSA level before prostate cancer needed surgery). If reduced to 2tbp per day would it still have the beneficial effect on lowering PSA levels?




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  17. Dear Dr. Gregor and Moderators,
    This comment in the transcript referencing ENERGY deserves explanation or clarification.

    “They yielded varying findings, with increased risk associated with higher energy, protein, and animal product intake,”




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  18. I have been told by some specialist that flax seed could make prostate cancer worse and that pumpkin seeds are much better to fight cancer. I would like Dr Greger’s opinion on this. thank you so much for all the information you give to us. we really appreciate!




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  19. Hi Avgi,

    I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thank you for your question.

    I have looked through the literature quite extensively regarding flaxseed, and have not seen a single paper saying that flaxseed could worsen prostate cancer. I would ask your specialist to provide the source from which he got that information. If there’s anything you see as important, feel free to send it to us. We’d love to take a look.

    Overall, I don’t believe flaxseeds or pumpkin seeds have been directly shown to fight prostate cancer, but flaxseed has been used as a co-therapy in some studies, with some possible effectiveness. However, the overall quality of the diet is most important regarding cancer prevention and treatment.

    I hope this helps!




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  20. Hi. I’m a 63 yr old male, and I’ve reading some negative information about flaxseed and its possible effect on older men, as apparently testosterone in men diminishes with age.

    I understand that flaxseed is highly estrogenic, and that elevated estrogen can reduces men’s testosterone levels and put both men at risk for heart disease and certain types of cancer.

    What is your opinion please re flaxseed consumption for older men?

    Thanks.




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  21. Hello –

    Thanks for your question. You may wish to view Dr. G’s other videos about flaxseed to help you have balanced, scientific information about flaxseeds and any purported “estrogenic effects”. From my viewing of the videos, I think you may find the best information in his video on Breast Cancer and Flaxseeds as a way of learning how certain plant based foods (especially flax) “block” estrogen receptors (there are alpha and beta receptors, Dr. G does an elegant job of explaining the differences).

    There is rampant misinformation about supposed estrogenic effects of soy and other plant foods which scares people away from eating these very healthy things. I loved Dr G’s take on breast cancer survival and lignan intake and think you’ll find it helpful.

    Appreciate the question! Best of luck.

    Lisa Schmidt, MS, CN




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  22. I will need to eat more fruit and veggies, and especially drink more alcohol. ;)
    OK so flax seed therapy reduces PSA, does that equate to reduction in BPH symptoms?




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    1. Hello Cathy,
      I am a family doctor with a private practice specializing in lifestyle medicine, and also a volunteer moderator for this website. I just was reviewing Dr. Greger’s videos on prostate cancer (there are over 60 of them, so I was only able to skim them quickly) — to see if he had done any other videos mentioning alcohol and prostate cancer. I couldn’t find any.

      Note, though, that the study Dr. G cites only says that alcohol intake is statistically associated with decreased prostate cancer rates. That is not the same as saying that alcohol intake CAUSES a reduction in prostate cancer. I have a master’s degree in epidemiology, and the medical literature is full of interesting associations. It may be, for example, that people who drink more alcohol drink less milk; milk consumption is known to be associated with increased prostate cancer; so the causal factor could be more milk instead of less alcohol.

      I also remember reading that alcohol consumption leads to higher estrogen levels and lower testosterone — which leads to less risk of prostate cancer. So there MIGHT be a plausible biological explanation for there being a causal relation between alcohol and decreased prostate cancer risk. Sorry I don’t have time at the moment to look up references for you.

      I hope this helps some.
      Dr. Jon
      PhysicianAssistedWellness.com
      Volunteer moderator for NutritionFacts.org.




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      1. Hi Dr. Jon,

        Yes, thanks so much for your response. I thought it an odd association but you might be right. Association is not causation.
        Appreciate your taking the time.




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  23. Hello Cathy,
    I am a family doctor with a private practice specializing in lifestyle medicine, and also a volunteer moderator for this website. I just was reviewing Dr. Greger’s videos on prostate cancer (there are over 60 of them, so I was only able to skim them quickly) — to see if he had done any other videos mentioning alcohol and prostate cancer. I couldn’t find any.

    Note, though, that the study Dr. G cites only says that alcohol intake is statistically associated with decreased prostate cancer rates. That is not the same as saying that alcohol intake CAUSES a reduction in prostate cancer. I have a master’s degree in epidemiology, and the medical literature is full of interesting associations. It may be, for example, that people who drink more alcohol drink less milk; milk consumption is known to be associated with increased prostate cancer; so the causal factor could be more milk instead of less alcohol.

    I also remember reading that alcohol consumption leads to higher estrogen levels and lower testosterone — which leads to less risk of prostate cancer. So there MIGHT be a plausible biological explanation for there being a causal relation between alcohol and decreased prostate cancer risk. Sorry I don’t have time at the moment to look up references for you.

    I hope this helps some.
    Dr. Jon
    PhysicianAssistedWellness.com
    Volunteer moderator for NutritionFacts.org.




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  24. Everywhere on the internet it recommends men stay away from Flax seed due to it’s testosterone lowing effects. It seems to go hand in hand with the recommendations for avoiding soy for the same reasons.

    Does Flax Seed effect testosterone levels in men negatively? Dr Greger does not mention the effect on testosterone levels in any of his video promoting flax. I would love some clarification on effects of testosterone levels in men who consume flax seed.




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