Eating flaxseed may ease hot flashes

Aug. 30, 2007 at 5:01 PM
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ROCHESTER, Minn., Aug. 30 (UPI) -- A U.S. study suggests eating crushed flaxseed may decrease hot flashes in postmenopausal women who do not take estrogen.

A hot flash -- intense body-warmth sometimes accompanied by skin-reddening, sweating or cold shivers -- can cause sleep deprivation, anxiety or irritability.

"Hot flashes are a bothersome issue for women experiencing menopause," said study leader Dr. Sandhya Pruthi of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

"Not only does flaxseed seem to alleviate hot flashes, but it appears to have overall health and psychological benefits as well."

Full data for six weeks of flaxseed therapy -- 40 grams of crushed flaxseed ingested daily -- was obtained for 21 women who had bothersome hot flashes, but did not want to take estrogen because of a perceived increased risk of breast cancer.

Participants were given a hot flash score -- a combined measure of frequency and severity. The frequency of hot flashes decreased 50 percent over six weeks, and the overall hot flash score decreased an average 57 percent. Participants also reported improvements in mood, joint or muscle pain and reduced chills and sweating.

The findings are published in the Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology.

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