When you include the American Institute for Cancer Research in your estate plans, you make a major difference in the fight against cancer.

Corporate Champions who partner with the American Institute for Cancer Research stand at the forefront of the fight against cancer

40 Years of Progress: Transforming Cancer. Saving Lives.

The AICR Lifestyle & Cancer Symposium addresses the most current and consequential issues regarding diet, obesity, physical activity and cancer.

The Annual AICR Research Conference is the most authoritative source for information on diet, obesity, physical activity and cancer.

Cancer Update Program – unifying research on nutrition, physical activity and cancer.

ResourcesNav New164

Whether you are a healthcare provider, a researcher, or just someone who wants to learn more about cancer prevention, we’re here to help.

Read real-life accounts of how AICR is changing lives through cancer prevention and survivorship.

We bring a detailed policy framework to our advocacy efforts, and provide lawmakers with the scientific evidence they need to achieve our objectives.

AICR champions research that increases understanding of the relationship between nutrition, lifestyle, and cancer.

Are you ready to make a difference? Join our team and help us advance research, improve cancer education and provide lifesaving resources.

AICR’s resources can help you navigate questions about nutrition and lifestyle, and empower you to advocate for your health.

July 13, 2015 | 2 minute read

I’ve heard that flaxseed can help lower blood cholesterol, but I’m worried that it could pose breast cancer risk. What does current research say about this?

Q: I’ve heard that flaxseed can help lower blood cholesterol, but I’m worried that it could pose breast cancer risk. What does current research say about this?

FlaxseedA: The latest research shows that consuming flaxseed does not increase risk for breast cancer. At one time, there was concern that flaxseed’s lignans, classified as phytoestrogens could raise the risk of breast cancers that are fueled by high levels of estrogen. Now studies show that although lignans’ chemical structure is like estrogen, they don’t act like estrogen in the body. In fact, research indicates flaxseed may be protective, especially in post-menopausal women. It seems to decrease cell growth, increase self-destruction of abnormal cells and shift estrogen metabolism to less cancer-promoting forms.

As for heart health benefits, some studies do show that including four level tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily may lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and blood pressure, although we need more research to understand who benefits and how much is needed.

Flaxseed does provide other valuable nutrients: it is concentrated in dietary fiber and contains the plant form of omega-3 fat known as ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). An additional benefit –bacteria in our gut convert flaxseed’s lignans into compounds with antioxidant effects.

Do check with your doctor before beginning daily flaxseed if you take fish oil or EPA + DHA supplements or anticoagulant medicine. Also, if you are undergoing cancer treatment, discuss potential use with your care providers. If you take any prescription or non-prescription medicine, be sure to take flaxseed one hour before or two hours after to avoid blocking absorption of the medicine.  Finally, if you’re considering daily flaxseed, note that four tablespoons of ground flaxseed contain about 150 calories.  Substitute it for some other food to avoid undesired weight gain, which would raise risk of both heart disease and cancer.

For more on flaxseed, see our Foods that Fight Cancer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More From the Blog