The answer is no and in fact, you should increase your consumption of flaxseeds according to several clinical studies.
Often women contact me and say they have diagnosed with ER-estrogen positive breast cancer and have heard that flaxseeds should be avoided in their situation. Well, the exact opposite is true.
Several studies have been done to determine how the phytoestrogens in flaxseeds may actually help reduce cancer. Studies would seem to indicate that the weak plant-based estrogens block the estrogen receptors on cells within breast tissue, starving them of full-strength female estrogen, possibly stopping tumor growth and preventing cell damage.
Anticancer Action of Flaxseeds
Several studies have been done to determine how the phytoestrogens in flaxseeds may actually help reduce cancer. One theory compares the estrogen-receptor blocking ability of flaxseeds with estrogen-receptor modulation drugs. The weak plant-based flaxseed estrogens block the estrogen receptors on cells within breast tissue, starving them of full-strength female estrogen, possibly stopping tumor growth and preventing cell damage. This effect may be most effective for younger, premenopausal women with estrogen-receptor-negative cancers. A clinical trial combining flaxseeds with a macrobiotic diet has been done by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Among other goals, the study hopes to find out whether a macrobiotic diet that includes flaxseed will be beneficial during and after breast cancer therapy.
Clinical Study using Dr. Budwig’s flaxseed diet
In a 2005 study report in the International Journal of Cancer an experiment was done were they feed rats a combination of flax extracts and tumor growth rate was significantly lower in all of the flaxseeds fed rats due to decreased cell proliferation and increased apoptosis; Lung metastasis incidence was reduced up to 70% by all treatments; distant lymph node metastasis was significantly decreased (52%). Total metastasis incidence was lowered (42%) in the lignan combined with flax oil fed rats.
In the November 2004 issue of Clinical Cancer Research, a study was done combining flaxseed with tamoxifen and another group with tamoxifen alone. The study reported: “They used mice with human breast cancer tumors with and without supplemental estrogen. At low estrogen levels, predictive of a woman in menopause, tumors in the flaxseed-fed mice shrunk 74%.
The tamoxifen produced a similar effect to the flaxseed shrinking the tumors initially, but by the end of the experiment, the tumors had returned to their initial size using just tamoxifen.
Combining tamoxifen and flaxseed shrunk the tumor half again as much as tamoxifen alone did. In the mice kept at high estrogen levels, modeling a premenopausal breast cancer patient, the flaxseed alone inhibited tumor growth by 22%. The tamoxifen alone inhibited tumor growth by 41% and both together by 50%.
Tamoxifen increases the risk of uterine cancer in humans by eight times. It caused the uterus of these test mice to swell by 39%. Flaxseed prevented the tamoxifen from causing this uterine growth. Flaxseed on its own inhibited estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer and increased the effectiveness of tamoxifen and possibly prevent uterine cancer, a known risk associated with using this drug treatment.”
In 2002 a study was done were by scientists injected human breast cancer cells into mice. Half the mice were given flax seed. Lung metastasis was 56% in the control group and only 22.2% in the flax-fed mice. Flaxseed decreased lymph node metastasis from 89% to 33%. Lung tumors decreased by 82%. The researchers showed that these effects were partly due to flax seeds effect of decreasing insulin-like growth factor I and epidermal growth factor receptor expression.
Dabrosin et al published in Cancer Letters a study in November 2002 suggesting that flaxseed inhibited angiogenesis in breast tumors by decreasing levels of (VEGF) which is a key factor in breast cancer angiogenesis.
The study reported: “The women who eat the most flax lowered their risk of getting breast cancer by 62% compared to women who do not eat it. Women with this genetic marker who eat large amounts of flax lignans reduce their risk of breast cancer by up to 70%.”
The secret of the famous flaxseed oil and cottage cheese mixture that Dr. Budwig used is that it contains two anticancer components: lignans and an omega-3 fat called “alphalinolenic acid” (ALA).
The medical world refers to hormonal dependent type cancers and will often recommend hormonal inhibitors whereas flaxseeds, detoxification, and the Budwig diet will resolve the issue properly.
Dr. Budwig research states: Dr. Budwig didn’t mention progesterone or testosterone per se (in the fourteen books of hers I have in my possession), but she repeatedly addressed the subject of hormones and insulin. Generally speaking, she was not in favor of (i.e. against) taking hormones, see e.g. the following quote from Das Fettsyndrom, p. 149: “Numerous naturopathic modalities lend themselves to be combined with my approach. When substituting glandular extracts, hormones and other ‘bio-logical’ substances, it must be remembered that such substitutions can functionally paralyze the corresponding organs in their autonomous production of these substances. Great caution is called for when applying such therapeutic modalities, with dosage being of the utmost importance…”.
She uses stronger terms on the subsequent page where she writes: “Applying hormones or radiation therapy while following my oil-protein diet is a contradiction in terms (meaning that the former aims to produce a cytostatic or anti-mitosis effect while the latter aims to produce the opposite, i.e., a cytodynamic effect).
Her strongest words against using a “hormone cure” can be read in Der Tod des
Tumors on page 144: “My rejection of all anti-mitosis poisons has been well confirmed by a report recently issued by the laboratories of the CIBA company. They proved in their experiments that numerous female and male hormones hinder both the spontaneous and the catalytically accelerated autoxidation of linoleic acid. Experiences have already shown that the application of hormone injections in combination with my nutritional therapy clearly has a very negative effect. In cases where the oil-protein diet had already been implemented for a while, an intense course of hormone treatment leads to worsening (deterioration) and a quick demise, and astonishingly fast. In other words, it makes no sense to combine the application of anti-mitosis toxins with the oil-protein diet, which stimulates renewal and shedding of cells as well as the entire secretion.”