Phytoestrogens and national menopause awareness month

With October as National Menopause Awareness month, Linwoods health foods are joining a mission to raise awareness through education and nutrition, especially with regard to the role of plant phytoestrogens and in particular substances known as lignans. The aim of the campaign is to help to ensure a more positive menopause experience for women. Linwoods have partnered with nutritionist Jane McClenaghan (pictured) to create sources of effective, evidence-based nutritional information.

Also, find out how environmental factors influence menopause: understanding the hidden connections.

Nutritional Therapist Jane McClenaghanSource of lignans

Flaxseed is one of the richest seed sources of lignan and other bioactive compounds. Studies show that maximum lignan biosynthesis with associated potential health benefits occur in flaxseeds following their germination. The highest antioxidant and antiproliferative activities were found to be on day ten. These findings suggest that germination for eight to ten days provides for optimal lignan production with associated health benefits if incorporated into the human diet.

In her article Nutrition for women during the menopause and peri-menopause stage of life, Nutritional Therapist, Jane McClenaghan says, "If there was one daily habit that I would recommend to my clients at peri-menopause, it’s to add flaxseed to their diet every day. Packed with phytoestrogens, a good source of fibre and full of plant-based omega 3, flaxseeds can be a really useful ingredient for female hormone balance at this stage of life".

The oestrogen effect

Jane McClenaghan goes onto explain how the plant based balancers in flaxseeds have been shown to have a modulating effect on oestrogen. At peri-menopause and menopause when our body’s oestrogen levels are naturally reducing, these nutritional components have been found to gently and safely optimise oestrogen levels without any adverse side effects. Lignans have been well researched for their health benefits at menopause and a daily intake has been shown to help manage hot flushes, vaginal dryness and other symptoms.

Lignans are concentrated in the outer shell, or hull, of the flaxseed, so to get maximum benefits it is important to have milled flaxseed. The sprouted form of flaxseed found in Menoligna is a particularly good source of lignans.

A chemical that can neutralise damaging substances called oxygen free radicals. Full medical glossary
A viral infection affecting the respiratory system. Full medical glossary
A substance produced by a gland in one part of the body and carried by the blood to the organs or tissues where it has an effect. Full medical glossary
An element present in haemoglobin in the red cells. Full medical glossary

The time of a woman’s life when her ovaries stop releasing an egg (ovum) on a monthly cycle, and her periods cease

Full medical glossary
A hormone involved in female sexual development, produced by the ovaries. Full medical glossary
The muscula passage, forming part of the femal reproductive system, between the cervix and the external genitalia. Full medical glossary