Lignans are a group of naturally occurring phytoestrogens found in plants. They are popular for managing menopausal symptoms like hot flashes.
If you’re experiencing menopause symptoms, you’re not alone. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, around 85% of women experience some form of menopause symptoms. While there are many treatments available, many women are looking for a more natural solution, and lignans may offer just that.
What are lignans?
They are a type of phytoestrogen, a plant compound with estrogen-like properties. Phytoestrogens are found in various plants and foods, but lignans are found in higher concentrations in flaxseeds, sesame seeds and soybeans. They mimic the effects of estrogen in the body and can bind to estrogen receptors to produce desired results.
What are their benefits for menopause?
Lignans have been shown to offer various health benefits, including easing menopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. Additionally, as phytoestrogens, they may help to protect against osteoporosis and heart disease. They can also be considered a healthy treatment option for both hot flashes and menopause because they give off a more natural estrogen treatment than what patients get from synthetic hormone therapy. In a clinical study by Mayo Clinic, women who experienced hot flashes took flaxseeds for six weeks to see the effects. At the end of the study, they reported a reduced amount and severity of hot flashes and improved general well-being.
How do they work?
During menopause, estrogen levels decrease, putting women at high risk of osteoporosis and heart disease. In this case, lignans bind to the estrogen receptors, which helps to protect against bone loss and heart disease. In some cases, estrogen levels actually increase with menopause. In these instances, lignans help by binding to estrogen receptors, then the excess estrogen levels are excreted from the body through the bowels or urine. Because phytoestrogens can regulate hormones, they alleviate some of the most common menopause symptoms, like hot flashes, safely without the use of chemicals, which provides significant menopause relief.
Lignans as HRT
These phytoestrogens can be used as natural hormone replacement treatment (HRT), and they are considered safer than other hormone treatments. As HRT, they have fewer long-term side effects than contemporary hormone therapy treatments. However, it is important to note that although phytoestrogens are a natural remedy, they may not be as effective as synthetic hormone therapy. This is because the body metabolizes phytoestrogens differently than it does synthetic hormones. Additionally, a lot of work and research has gone into developing contemporary hormone therapy, so it is more potent. Nevertheless, phytoestrogens are still a viable and safe option for HRT, particularly for women who cannot take synthetic hormones for health reasons or personal preference.
Do they have any side effects?
Lignans are safe for most women, but as with any new supplement, it’s always best to speak with your doctor first. Some women may experience gastrointestinal side effects such as gas, bloating or diarrhea. If you experience any of these side effects, reduce your dosage or discontinue use altogether.
As you can see, phytoestrogens offer a variety of benefits for menopausal women. If you’re experiencing menopause symptoms and are looking for a more natural solution, they may be right for you. Speak with your doctor to see if phytoestrogens are right for you, and always follow the recommended dosage.