A postgraduate researcher from RMIT University will present the findings of her study into the effects of flaxseed lignans on reducing breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women, at a series of prestigious conferences in Europe and Australia.

Leah Williamson, of Food Science and Technology said that the preliminary results show “that lignans from flaxseed were metabolised in such a way that the potential of cancer-causing estrogens to instigate breast cancer was reduced.”

Breast_cancerIt is believed that the rapid production of breast cells through estrogen stimulation can lead to mutations in the breast cell and it’s DNA, which can then lead to the development of a tumour.

“Estrogen is like a key which fits the breast cell and stimulates the breast cells to reproduce. Lignans mimic estrogen enabling the cells to reproduce at a much slower rate and therefore reducing the risk of mutations,” said Ms Williamson.

“Lignans occur naturally in plant foods and whole grains but much of these have been eliminated in the highly processed and refined foods of the Western diet.”

The study involved two trials with healthy postmenopausal women who were given 50mg or 100mg of purified lignans (Secoisolariciresinol diglucoside) or a placebo daily for three seven-week periods over nine months.

Purified Lignan supplements are widely available in Europe and the US, where they are prescribed to reduce postmenopausal systems.

Ms Williamson whose research was funded by Melrose Health will present her findings at the:

  • International Conference on Lignans Alkylresorcinols and Health, Helsinki, Finland, June 7-
  • 40th Anniversary Australian Institute of Food Science Technology (AIFST) Convention, Melbourne, June 24-27
  • 10th European Nutrition Conference, Paris, France, July 10-13
  • Nutrition Society Annual Summer Meeting 2007, University of Ulster at Coleraine, Northern Ireland, 16-19 July

Media contact: RMIT University School of Applied Science, Leah Williamson, (03) 9925 3967 or 0422 505 124.