Health Alert: Flaxseed for prostate cancer

NATIONAL (NBC) - A tiny seed is making a big impression as a potential cancer fighter. Research being presented this weekend at the nation's largest cancer conference suggests a daily dose of flaxseed may be the right prescription for prostate cancer.

Fighting cancer with a coffee grinder makes perfect sense to Norwood Bryan, "there it is and you just shake it on your cereal."

Ground flax seeds - a nutrition recommendation Mr. Bryan received at Duke University Medical Center ten years ago when he was diagnosed with a pre-cancerous prostate condition, called pin.

"When I came back from my second biopsy the pin had disappeared."

An impressive outcome that inspired nutrition researchers to take a closer look at flaxseed.

Nutrition researcher Denise Snyder, "It looks like there might be something going on."

The tiny seed is loaded with omega three fatty acids and fiber called lignan.

Snyder says, "We suspect that it's halting some of the tumor growth by disrupting some of the events - the chain of events that leads up to cells dividing irregularly and becoming cancerous."

The latest study is in 160 prostate cancer patients - comparing the rate of cancer cell growth in men who didn't eat flaxseed to those who added three tablespoons of ground flaxseed to their diet everyday. The results: cancer cells grew slower in the flaxseed eaters.

Study manager Denise Snyder notes more research is needed to confirm and better understand the cancer fighting potential of the tiny seed.

You don't have to convince Norwood Bryan, "I've been sprinkling flax on my cereal every morning for 10 years. So far, I've not been diagnosed with cancer."

Researchers say it is important to note that the study used ground flaxseed - not flaxseed oil which has has mixed results in prostate cancer studies.

Another study released at the conference found the herb ginseng helped lessen cancer fatigue. Researchers note that it is far too early to recommend the food and herb as a remedy.

And grinding is key - eating the whole seed doesn't release the combination of healthy oils and fiber.

Posted by Bryce Mursch