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Impact of Flax-seed on PCOS.

Updated: Jul 31, 2020

What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a very common endocrine disorder which is associated with higher amount of androgens in females in reproductive age. Metabolic disturbances such as insulin resistance can activate hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and result in the increased production of androgens in PCOS patients. This condition is also associated with hirsutism, amenorrhea, obesity, hyperglycemia and dyslipidemia (symptoms varies from person to person).

Various therapeutic methods such as lifestyle modifications, surgery and medication like clomiphene citrate, metformin, letrozole and tamoxifen have been proposed for PCOS.

Nutritional composition of Flaxseed.

Flaxseed is considered as a functional food which is a very good source of alpha-linolenic acid, lignans, high quality protein (apx. 20.3 g/100 g), soluble fiber and phenolic compounds. The chemical composition of flaxseed depends upon the environment in which it is grown, genetics of plant and processing conditions and treatments. Flaxseed protein is rich in arginine, aspartic acid and glutamic acid. High cysteine and methionine contents improve the antioxidant levels, thus helps in reducing risk of diseases caused by oxidative stress. It serves as a good source of minerals especially, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium and potassium.

What is the role of Flax seed in PCOS?

There are many research studies showing the effect of flaxseed in PCOS condition. Findings suggest that flaxseed may have a profound impact on testosterone levels, and also may diminish symptoms associated with hyperandrogenism, such as hirsutism. Flax seed was shown to decrease the androgen levels in PCOS induced rats. Studies have proves that hydroalcoholic extract of flaxseed was shown to control androgen levels and decrease hirsutism in females with PCOS.

Adequate nutritional therapy with additional provision of flaxseed (dosage depending on individual) was shown to be effective to normalize hormonal levels, maintain normal body weight, and to reduce disease specific symptoms.

Currently the care treatment for PCOS ranges from lifestyle modifications to pharmacological treatments. Lifestyle modifications includes diet, exercise and weight loss along with good mental health. Pharmacological treatments includes antiandrogens (Spironolactone, Flutamide), insulin lower agents (Metformin and thiazolidinediones) etc.

What are the other functions of Flaxseed?

  • Fights against inflammatory mediators (which causes inflammation in the body).

  • n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids present in it prevents the incidence of Coronary Artery Diseases and Atherosclerosis (clotting of blood in major blood vessels).

  • Clinical researches proves that it prevents rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

  • Animal studies proves that it prevents Streptococcus pneumonia infection.

  • Reduce growth of tumour cells.

  • Flaxseed possesses antioxidant and hepatoprotective properties

  • Several studies advocated the cholesterol lowering benefits of flaxseed meal.

  • Insoluble fiber present in it increases the intestinal bulk which is useful in the treatment of constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and diverticular disease.

So, modify your diet with healthy options.

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