Menopause heralds the end of the female body’s monthly cycle in preparation for the release of an egg, or ovum, from the ovaries. Unfortunately, the negative connotations of menopause derive from many of the symptoms and sensations women experience upon reaching this life-changing time. For some, menopausal symptoms signal the end of being youthful and vibrant. However, flaxseed oil may be able to help reduce these feelings by possibly reducing the physical side effects of menopause.
Hot flashes occur when an appropriate level of estrogen is not being released from the body. As a result, a woman may feel a sensation of increased temperature. This reaction is the result of the brain's innate ability to determine changes in the body. However, some evidence, as explained MedlinePlus, suggests the presence of ALA in flaxseed oil may reduce this reaction, which hinders the onset of hot flashes, as well as the severity of the symptoms.
During menopause, the ovaries production of estrogen begins to slow down. Unfortunately, reduced estrogen levels are primarily responsible for many of the symptoms of menopause. However, flaxseed, as explained by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, contains plant estrogens, called “lignans,” which may help to improve estrogen levels in the body.
In the publication, Supplementation With Flaxseed Alters Estrogen Metabolism in Postmenopausal Women to A Greater Extent Than Does Supplementation With an Equal Amount of Soy, researchers identified greater metabolite excretion of poor-quality estrogens in the urine. In other words, poorly formed estrogen molecules were accessed and expelled from the body through the urinary tract when a flaxseed supplement was given.
Historically, many women have used soy supplements for this purpose; however, this research seems to suggest the levels of estrogen may be purer when taking a flaxseed supplement, such as flaxseed oil. As a result, researchers may assume an increase in high-quality estrogen would help to curb some of the side effects of menopause.
Researchers disagree on whether the use of an omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acid supplement is adversely consequential to the replacement of estrogen in the body when estrogen replacement therapy is currently being used. Therefore, women should speak with their OB/GYN or physician about taking a flaxseed oil supplement while on estrogen replacement therapy. However, no evidence has been gathered to suggest a flaxseed oil supplement would increase estrogen levels to dangerous levels when used in combination with estrogen replacement therapy.
Some women may have a tendency to view menopause negatively. For some, menopause is a definitive sign of age and the inescapable consequence of being female. However, understanding the role of diet in maintaining health after menopause is crucial to attempting to reduce the symptoms of menopause. Furthermore, flaxseed oil may be a potential solution to reducing the symptoms, especially for those who opt not to take an estrogen replacement therapeutic. Reducing the effects of menopausal symptoms is a freeing feeling, and doing it naturally is all that much better.