Flaxseed Lignans Health Benefits  
Bhathena SJ and Velasquez MT from US Department of Agriculture, MD, reported that Nutritional
intervention studies performed in animals and humans suggest that the ingestion of flaxseed rich in
lignans (matairesinol and secoisolariciresinol) improves glucose control and insulin resistance in their
review article. [1] Lignans appear to act through various mechanisms that modulate pancreatic insulin
secretion or through antioxidative actions. They may also act via estrogen receptor-mediated
mechanisms. The diversity of cellular actions of flaxseed lignans supports their possible beneficial effects
on various chronic diseases, especially diabetes. [1-5]

Secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG) is metabolized to secoisolariciresinol (SECO), enterodiol (ED), and
enterolactone (EL) in the body. These metabolites, vitamin E and SDG showed antioxidant activities in a
study using chemiluminescence of zymosan-activated polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Prasad K. from
University of Saskatchewan found the highest antioxidant activity with secoisolariciresinol and enterodiol
and lowest with vitamin E. [3] Dr. Prasad also found that secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG) prevented
or delayed the development of diabetes in a study of 26 diabetic fatty female rats. Incidence of diabetes
was 100% in untreated and 20% in secoisolariciresinol diglucoside -treated diabetic rats by the age of 72
days. [2]

Diabetes was associated with an increase in oxidative stress as suggested by an increase in serum
malondialdehyde, and associated with an increase in serum total cholesterol and triglycerides and
glycated hemoglobin A. Diabetic rats treated with secoisolariciresinol diglucoside that did not develop
diabetes by 70 days of age had no increase in oxidative stress, serum total cholesterol, and glycated
hemoglobin. [2]

Benefits of Flaxseed Meal
       Benefits of Flaxseed Oil

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED ZHION 2007 [1] Bhathena SJ, et al, Beneficial role of dietary phytoestrogens in
obesity and diabetes. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Dec;76(6):1191-201. [2] Prasad K.  Secoisolariciresinol
diglucoside from flaxseed delays the development of type 2 diabetes in Zucker rat. J Lab Clin Med. 2001
Jul;138(1):32-9. [3] Prasad K. Antioxidant Activity of Secoisolariciresinol Diglucoside-derived Metabolites,
Secoisolariciresinol, Enterodiol, and Enterolactone. Int J Angiol. 2000 Oct;9(4):220-225. [4] Prasad K.
Oxidative stress as a mechanism of diabetes in diabetic BB prone rats: effect of secoisolariciresinol
diglucoside (SDG). Mol Cell Biochem. 2000 Jun;209(1-2):89-96. [5] Prasad K, et al, Protective effect of
secoisolariciresinol diglucoside against streptozotocin-induced diabetes and its mechanism. Mol Cell
Biochem. 2000 Mar;206(1-2):141-9.
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