The tiny flaxseed is loaded with nutrients and vitamins. It is believed that a daily intake of flaxseed reduces hot flashes.
However, a new study says flaxseeds do not reduce hot flashes.
The study, which was released at the American Society of Clinical Oncology on June 5, 2011, studied 188 women. The study followed the women over a six week period. The women were broken into two groups. Ninety-four of the women had menopausal symptoms and the other 94 women were breast cancer survivors. On a weekly basis, the women averaged 28 hot flashes. For six weeks, 50 percent of the women consumed a bar containing flaxseed on a daily basis. The other group consumed a non-flaxseed bar.
A 50 percent reduction of symptoms was reported in only 62 of the 188 women . There were zero "statistical changes" in menopausal symptoms between the two women’s groups. The women participated in the study between October and December 2009.
In a statement, lead author Dr. Sandhya Pruthi said, "Flaxseed may be a highly touted supplement for many ills, but according to our randomized study results, it is not effective for hot flashes." Pruthi is the author of the study and a breast cancer specialist at the Mayo clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Inspired by one of her patients, Pruthi decided to study the benefits of flaxseed. Pruthi’s patient mentioned she was having a reduction of hot flashes because of daily flaxseed intake.
Pruthi had conducted an earlier study, which was not placebo controlled, on the effects of flaxseed and hot flashes. The earlier results were promising and showed flaxseed provided some relief for women with hot flashes.
The results have some medical experts disappointed.
"There were so many testimonials that we thought flaxseed was going to work, but a testimonial is not a rigorous clinical trial result, and that's what our patients deserve," said Dr. Mark Kris, a cancer specialist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.