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Baillieres Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1998 Dec;12(4):691-705.

Experimental studies on lignans and cancer.

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  • 1Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Mammalian lignans are produced from plant precursors such as secoisolariciresinol diglycoside (SDG) and matairesinol via the action of bacteria in the human or animal colon. While precursors are found in many plant foods, flaxseed is the richest source of SDG and was therefore used as a model to determine the anti-cancer effects of lignans. This paper reviews the experimental studies in animals and humans demonstrating the anti-cancer effects of flaxseed and its SDG as well as other studies relevant to the clinical use of lignans, such as those on their food sources, bio-availability and safety.

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