Menopausal Hot Flashes Halved in Preliminary Study of Ground Flaxseed
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Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD
Aug. 30, 2007 -- New research shows that the tiny flaxseed may bring some relief for menopausal hot flashes.
The flaxseed findings need to be confirmed, so flaxseed isn't guaranteed to soothe hot flashes.
But in a small, preliminary study, women halved their hot flashes by eating 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed, twice daily, mixed into their cereal, juice, fruit, or yogurt.
The flaxseed study comes from Sandhya Pruthi, MD, and colleagues at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Pruthi's team studied 29 women who had been having 14 hot flashes per week for at least a month and weren't taking estrogen to relieve their menopausal symptoms.
The women didn't start taking flaxseed right away. First, they spent a week just keeping a diary of their hot flashes and quality of life.
After that initial week ended, the researchers gave all of the women crushed flaxseed and told the women to sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the flaxseed on cereal, juice, yogurt, or fruit twice daily for six weeks.
During the six-week study, the women continued their hot flash diaries and reported any side effects.
At the end of the study, the researchers had sufficient data on hot flashes for 21 of the women.
The results show that the women halved their number of daily hot flashes while taking flaxseed. In addition, the intensity of the women's hot flashes dropped by 57% during the study.
Side effects included abdominal bloating (14 women) and mild diarrhea (eight women).
The study has some limits. It had relatively few participants, and there was no comparison group of women taking a flaxseed-free placebo powder.
Pruthi's team concludes that more research is indeed warranted. The full report appears in the Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology.
SOURCES: Pruthi, S. Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology, Summer 2007; vol 5. News release, Mayo Clinic.
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