Flaxseed and Flaxseed Oil

Flaxseed and Flaxseed Oil

Up to 80% of breast cancer patients take dietary supplements to help treat breast cancer and flaxseed is the third most commonly used supplement. Flax seed oil contains alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) that the body converts to omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, and has anti-inflammatory effects. Flaxseed also contains lignan which acts as an estrogen receptor antagonist and may help in treatment of breast cancer.

Both flaxseed and flax seed oil have been studied for their beneficial effects on breast cancer, in treatment and potential to reduce tumor growth.

Recently a study with a showed combination of TRAS, or Trastuzumab, with flaxseed oil enhanced the tumor-reducing effects. In fact, using a low dose of TRAS and flaxseed oil was as effective as high dose of TRAS. (TRAS is a first line drug therapy for breast cancer, when the Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 is overexpressed.)

Other benefits of Flaxseed and Flax seed Oil:

Cardiovascular disease: can lower cholesterol, prevent and reduce atherosclerotic plaque, and may help with arrhythmia. Other health conditions that may see improvement are asthma, Parkinson’s, reduction in hot flashes, constipation (ground flaxseed), and psoriasis.



Avoid flaxseed if you have a history of intestinal blockage or ileus, have swelling or stricture of the esophagus, or if you are pregnant. Consult with your doctor first if you are taking medications, are planning to become pregnant or breast feed, have allergies to medicines or foods, or if you have inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn’s).

Flaxseed can be bought whole or ground, and flaxseed oil in liquid or capsule form. Flax seed or flaxseed oil should be protected from heat, oxygen, and light.


Ground Flaxseed:

*has a light, nutty flavor

*can be added to baked goods (such as muffins and cookies)

*can sprinkle on yogurt, cereals, cottage cheese, salads.

*keep cold (in the freezer) and store in an opaque container

*Recommended intake: 1-2 Tablespoons/day

*One tablespoon = 37 kcal, 1 gm pro, 3 gm fat, 2 gm fiber, 1.5 gm ALA

Flaxseed Oil:

*can buy in liquid or capsule form.

*keep refrigerated to prevent rancidity and preserve quality

*must keep cold (refrigerated)

*can add to salads or other cold foods

*Recommended intake: 1-2 Tablespoons/day

* One tablespoon = 120 kcal, 13.6 gm fat, 7 gm ALA

Julie’s Blueberry Flaxseed Muffins:


1 cup flour

¾ cup ground flaxseed

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg , beaten

3 tablespoons butter, melted

3 tablespoons applesauce

1 cup plain soy milk (or skim milk)

¾ cup rolled oats

1 ½ cups blueberries



1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Mix the first 7 ingredients together.

3. Stir in the egg, butter, applesauce, and milk, until just blended.

4. Stir in oats and blueberries.

5. Fill paper lined muffin cups almost to the top.

6. Bake for 15-20 minutes.


Nutritional Analysis:

Each muffin contains: one tablespoon of ground flaxseed and 179 kcal, 27 gm carbohydrate, and 6 gm fat.


Mason, J., Chen, J., Thompson, L., 2010. Flaxseed oil-transtuzumab interaction in breast cancer. Food and Chemical Toxicology 48, 2223-2226.

Thompson, L., Chen, J., Li, T., 2005. Dietary flaxseed alters tumor biological markers in postmenopausal breast cancer. Clinical Cancer Research 11, 3828-3835.

MacLennan, M., Ma., D., 2010. Role of dietary fatty acids in mammary gland development and breast cancer. Breast Cancer Research 12: 211, 1-10.



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