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Cancer Lett. 2000 Dec 8;161(1):47-55.

Plasma insulin-like growth factor I levels in rats are reduced by dietary supplementation of flaxseed or its lignan secoisolariciresinol diglycoside.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, 150 College Street, Ontario M5S 3E2, Toronto, Canada.


Flaxseed and its lignan secoisolariciresinol diglycoside (SDG) inhibit mammary tumor development in rats. Increased plasma insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) concentrations are associated with increased breast cancer risk. Therefore, the effect of flaxseed (5%) or SDG (1.5 mg/day) supplementation on plasma IGF-I levels was examined in rats treated with or without N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (MNU). In MNU-free rats, flaxseed and SDG reduced plasma IGF-I levels, which were inversely related to urinary lignan excretion. Only flaxseed significantly reduced plasma IGF-I concentrations in MNU-treated rats. The anticancer effect of flaxseed and SDG may be related, in part, to reductions in plasma IGF-I.

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