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Flaxseed May Reduce Hot Flashes

Women not using estrogen therapy reported a mean 50 percent reduction in daily hot flash frequency

THURSDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- In women who are not taking estrogen therapy for menopausal symptoms, a dietary supplement of crushed flaxseed may reduce the daily frequency of hot flashes by up to 50 percent, according to a report published in the summer issue of the Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology.

Sandhya Pruthi, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues conducted a phase II pilot study of 28 women who were not taking estrogen therapy and who reported 14 hot flashes per week for at least one month. The women were given 40 grams of crushed flaxseed a day for six weeks.

At the end of the therapy period, there was a mean 50 percent reduction in daily hot flash frequency and a 57 percent mean decrease in hot flash scores. Side effects included mild to moderate stomach distention, experienced by 14 women. Eight women reported mild diarrhea, one reported flatulence and six experienced toxic effects from the seed and withdrew from the trial.

"The weak estrogenic properties identified in flaxseed seem to account for the most likely mechanism of its effectiveness in reducing hot flash activity," the authors write. "These results need to be evaluated in a larger, adequately powered, placebo-controlled trial," they add.

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