Research

Lignans show benefits for menopausal symptoms, says Linnea study

11-Dec-2013
Last updated on 11-Dec-2013 at 15:43 GMT - By Stephen DANIELLS
“The results of this study hold promise for the potential of a low-dose lignan supplement such HMRlignan to aid in relief of the symptoms associated with menopause without the adverse effects of HRT.”
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Supplements of Linnea's HMRLignan, the plant lignan isolated and purified from the Norway spruce (picea abies), may reduce the number of hot flashes by over 50%, says a new study.

Lignans have a weak estrogen-like activity and in humans HMRlignan (7-hydroxymatairesinol) is converted into a mammalian lignan called enterolactone. Results published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition confirmed that the ingredient was quickly absorbed into the blood and metabolized to enterolactone in healthy postmenopausal women.

Significant reductions in the frequency and severity of hot flashes were also recorded by the researchers, led by Dr Jay Udani of Medicus Research. The study was funded by Linnea SA.

“Not only was the HMRlignan quickly absorbed into the blood, but it was metabolized effectively into enterolactone which is the form of the ingredient that is useful in humans,” said Dr Udani.

“In the group receiving the higher dose of the product, there was a 55% reduction in the number of hot flashes after only 4 weeks and these women continued to report a 50% reduction in hot flashes through 8 weeks. The product was well tolerated throughout the study and these results point toward this product being of potential benefit to women looking to reduce their hot flashes.”

In addition, Dr Udani and his co-workers recorded even greater effects for the frequency of severe hot flashes. Specifically, eight weeks of receiving a daily 72 mg dose of the lignan was associated with an 80% reduction in the frequency of severe hot flashes.

HRT

While hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is commonly used for relieving the symptoms of menopause, HRT is not without risk with some studies finding that long-term use of these hormones may increase the risk of breast cancer, as well as cardiovascular events like stroke, heart attack, and blood clots. As such, phytoestrogens are a popular alternative to HRT for many women.

The researchers evaluated the efficacy of Linnea's HMRLignan to improve hot flashes in 22 postmenopausal females not receiving HRT. The women were randomly assigned to receive 36 mg/d (low-dose) or 72 mg/d dose (high-dose) of the lignan for eight weeks.

“Both groups in the present study experienced a statistically significant improvement in frequency of hot flash symptoms, with a 44% reduction from baseline to week 8 in the low-dose group compared to a 50% reduction in the high-dose group,” wrote the researchers. “This finding supports a possible dose–effect relationship of HMRlignan on relieving hot flashes. The specific effect of HMRlignan on reducing severity of hot flashes compared to placebo was not evaluated, which is a limitation of the study.”

‘Promise’

Donald Brown, ND, Managing Director of Natural Product Research Consultants and co-author of the new paper said: “The results of this study hold promise for the potential of a low-dose lignan supplement such HMRlignan to aid in relief of the symptoms associated with menopause without the adverse effects of HRT.”

Linnea confirmed that a follow-up 12-week study with a larger cohort of postmenopausal women is currently underway to study the effects of HMRlignan on hot flashes

Source: Journal of the American College of Nutrition
Volume 32, Number 6, Pages 428-435, doi: 10.1080/07315724.2013.849578
“Pharmacokinetics and Bioavailability of Plant Lignan 7-Hydroxymatairesinol and Effects on Serum Enterolactone and Clinical Symptoms in Postmenopausal Women: A Single-Blinded, Parallel, Dose-Comparison Study”
Authors: J.K. Udani, D.J. Brown, M.O.C. Tan, M. Hardy

Related topics: Research, Polyphenols, Botanicals and Herbals, Women's health