Effects of flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum) on climacteric symptoms and clinical parameters in post-menopausal women

Flaxseed effects on menopause associated symptoms and biochemical parameters


  • Kawa Dizaye Department of Basic Sciences, College of Medicine, Hawler Medical University, Erbil, 44001 Kurdistan Region, Iraq
  • Dereen Adeeb Alchalabi Department of Basic Science, College of Medicine, Hawler Medical University, Erbil, 44001, Kurdistan Region, Iraq
  • Bushra Hassan Marouf Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology-College of Pharmacy-University of Sulaimani-Sulaimani-Kurdistan Region-Iraq




climacteric, estrogen, progesterone, leptin, malondialdehyde


Menopause is the irreversible and permanent cessation of menstruation after one year of amenorrhea. Common symptoms include vaginal dryness, hot flashes, night sweating, and bone pain. Traditionally Linum usitatissimum (Flaxseeds) has been used for the treatment of postmenopausal symptoms. However, the effect of this medicinal herb on the satiety hormone; leptin and body weight in menopausal women has not been elucidated well.  This study was designed to evaluate the effect of flaxseeds on serum estrogen, progesterone, leptin, and malondialdehyde, body mass index, blood pressure in menopausal women. Moreover, the flaxseed effect on climacteric symptoms was also investigated.

The study was carried out as an interventional pre-post design. The study was a six-week oral administration of 1000 mg flaxseed powder twice daily by menopausal women. The duration of the study was eight months. Serum levels of estrogen, progesterone, and leptin hormones as well as total plasma malondialdehyde were determined pre-and-post flaxseed intervention. Clinical symptoms and bothersome complaints of postmenopausal women such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, bone pain, and night sweating were also evaluated. Furthermore, blood pressure elements and body mass index were also measured. The results showed that Linum usitatissimum seed powder significantly reduced vaginal dryness, hot flashes, bone pain, and night sweating in menopausal women. The same dose of flaxseed had no significant effects on serum estrogen and progesterone. However, it significantly decreased serum malondialdehyde and increased serum leptin. Flaxseed had a non-significant effect on body mass index and blood pressure. In conclusion Linum usitatissimum seed had significant efficacy in relieving vasomotor symptoms, decreasing oxidative stress, and increasing serum levels of leptin in menopausal women.

Keywords: climacteric, estrogen, progesterone, leptin, malondialdehyde.


Sussman M, Trocio J, Best C, et al. Prevalence of menopausal symptoms among mid-life women: findings from electronic medical records. BMC Womens Health. 2015;15(1):58. doi:10.1186/s12905-015-0217-y

Soares CN. Depression and Menopause. Med Clin North Am. 2019;103(4):651-667. doi:10.1016/j.mcna.2019.03.001

Brockie J. Managing menopausal symptoms: hot flushes and night sweats. Nurs Stand. 2013;28(12):48-53. doi:10.7748/ns2013.

Avis NE, Crawford SL, Greendale G, et al. Duration of Menopausal Vasomotor Symptoms Over the Menopause Transition. JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(4):531. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.8063

Angelou K, Grigoriadis T, Diakosavvas M, Zacharakis D, Athanasiou S. The Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause: An Overview of the Recent Data. Cureus. 2020;12(4):e7586. doi:10.7759/cureus.7586

Posadzki P, Lee MS, Moon TW, Choi TY, Park TY, Ernst E. Prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use by menopausal women: A systematic review of surveys. Maturitas. 2013;75(1):34-43. doi:10.1016/j.maturitas.2013.02.005

Geller SE, Studee L. Botanical and Dietary Supplements for Menopausal Symptoms: What Works, What Does Not. J Womens Health. 2005;14(7):634-649. doi:10.1089/jwh.2005.14.634

Hill DA, Hill SR. Counseling patients about hormone therapy and alternatives for menopausal symptoms. Am Fam Physician. 2010;82(7):801-807.

Goyal A, Sharma V, Upadhyay N, Gill S, Sihag M. Flax and flaxseed oil: an ancient medicine & modern functional food. J Food Sci Technol. 2014;51(9):1633-1653. doi:10.1007/s13197-013-1247-9

Proietto J. Obesity and weight management at menopause. Aust Fam Physician. 2017;46(6):368-370.

Luo J, Qi J, Wang W, et al. Antiobesity Effect of Flaxseed Polysaccharide via Inducing Satiety due to Leptin Resistance Removal and Promoting Lipid Metabolism through the AMP-Activated Protein Kinase (AMPK) Signaling Pathway. J Agric Food Chem. 2019;67(25):7040-7049. doi: 10. 1021 /acs.jafc .9b02434

Considine RV, Sinha MK, Heiman ML, et al. Serum Immunoreactive-Leptin Concentrations in Normal-Weight and Obese Humans. N Engl J Med. 1996;334(5):292-295. doi: 10. 1056 / NEJM199602013340503

Ahima RS, Osei SY. Molecular regulation of eating behavior: new insights and prospects for therapeutic strategies. Trends Mol Med. 2001;7(5):205-213. doi:10.1016/S1471-4914(01)01989-X

Di Carlo C, Tommaselli GA, Nappi C. Effects of sex steroid hormones and menopause on serum leptin concentrations. Gynecol Endocrinol Off J Int Soc Gynecol Endocrinol. 2002;16(6):479-491.

Carlo CD, Tommaselli GA, Pisano G, et al. Serum Leptin Levels in Postmenopausal Women: Effects of Transdermal Hormone Replacement Therapy: Menopause. 2000;7(1):36-41. doi:10.1097/00042192-200007010-00007.

Haffner SM, Mykk nen L, Stern MP. Leptin Concentrations in Women in the San Antonio Heart Study: Effect of Menopausal Status and Postmenopausal Hormone Replacement Therapy. Am J Epidemiol. 1997;146(7):581-585. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a009317

Rosenbaum M, Nicolson M, Hirsch J, et al. Effects of gender, body composition, and menopause on plasma concentrations of leptin. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1996;81(9):3424-3427. doi:10.1210/jcem.81.9.8784109

Dodin S, Lemay A, Jacques H, Légaré F, Forest JC, Mâsse B. The Effects of Flaxseed Dietary Supplement on Lipid Profile, Bone Mineral Density, and Symptoms in Menopausal Women: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Wheat Germ Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005;90(3):1390-1397. doi:10.1210/jc.2004-1148

Colli MC, Bracht A, Soares AA, et al. Evaluation of the Efficacy of Flaxseed Meal and Flaxseed Extract in Reducing Menopausal Symptoms. J Med Food.2012;15(9):840-845. doi:10.1089/jmf.2011.0228

Lizcano F, Guzmán G. Estrogen Deficiency and the Origin of Obesity during Menopause. BioMed Res Int. 2014;2014:1-11. doi:10.1155/2014/757461

Moldogazieva NT, Mokhosoev IM, Mel’nikova TI, Porozov YB, Terentiev AA. Oxidative Stress and Advanced Lipoxidation and Glycation End Products (ALEs and AGEs) in Aging and Age-Related Diseases. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2019;2019:1-14. doi:10.1155/2019/3085756

Montoya-Estrada A, Velázquez-Yescas KG, Veruete-Bedolla DB, et al. Parameters of Oxidative Stress in Reproductive and Postmenopausal Mexican Women. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(5):E1492. doi:10.3390/ijerph17051492

Cakir T, Goktas B, Mutlu MF, et al. Advanced oxidation protein products and malondialdehyde - the new biological markers of oxidative stress - are elevated in postmenopausal women. Ginekol Pol. 2016;87(5):321-325. doi:10.5603/GP.2016.0001

Cetisli NE, Saruhan A, Kivcak B. The Effects of Flaxseed on Menopausal Symptoms and Quality of Life. Holist Nurs Pract. 2015;29(3):151-157. doi:10.1097/HNP.0000000000000085

Parikh M, Maddaford TG, Austria JA, Aliani M, Netticadan T, Pierce GN. Dietary Flaxseed as a Strategy for Improving Human Health. Nutrients. 2019;11(5):1171. doi:10.3390/nu11051171

26.Parikh M, Netticadan T, Pierce GN. Flaxseed: its bioactive components and their cardiovascular benefits. Am J Physiol-Heart Circ Physiol. 2018;314(2):H146-H159. doi:10.1152/ajpheart.00400.2017.

Mann E, Hunter MS. Concordance between self-reported and sternal skin conductance measures of hot flushes in symptomatic perimenopausal and postmenopausal women: a systematic review. Menopause. 2011;18(6):709-722. doi:10.1097/gme.0b013e318204a1fb

Freedman RR. Menopausal hot flashes: Mechanisms, endocrinology, treatment. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2014;142:115-120. doi:10.1016/j.jsbmb.2013.08.010

Bansal R, Aggarwal N. Menopausal Hot Flashes: A Concise Review. J -Life Health. 2019;10(1):6-13. doi:10.4103/jmh.JMH_7_19

Touré A, Xueming X. Flaxseed Lignans: Source, Biosynthesis, Metabolism, Antioxidant Activity, Bio-Active Components, and Health Benefits. Compr Rev Food Sci Food Saf. 2010;9(3):261-269. doi: 10.1111/ j.1541-4337. 2009. 00105.x

Rodriguez-Leyva D, Dupasquier CMC, McCullough R, Pierce GN. The cardiovascular effects of flaxseed and its omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid. Can J Cardiol. 2010;26(9):489-496. doi:10.1016/s0828-282x(10)70455-4

Singh KK, Mridula D, Rehal J, Barnwal P. Flaxseed: A Potential Source of Food, Feed and Fiber. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2011;51(3):210-222. doi:10.1080/10408390903537241

Peterson J, Dwyer J, Adlercreutz H, Scalbert A, Jacques P, McCullough ML. Dietary lignans: physiology and potential for cardiovascular disease risk reduction: Nutrition Reviews©, Vol. 68, No. 10. Nutr Rev. 2010;68(10):571-603. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00319.x

Sylvain Lecomte, Florence Demay, François Ferrière, Farzad Pakdel. Phytochemicals Targeting Estrogen Receptors: Beneficial Rather Than Adverse Effects? Int J Mol Sci. 2017;18(7):1381. doi:10.3390/ijms18071381

Hutchins AM, Martini MC, Olson BA, Thomas W, Slavin JL. Flaxseed Consumption Influences Endogenous Hormone Concentrations in Postmenopausal Women. Nutr Cancer. 2001;39(1):58-65. doi: 10. 1207 /S15327914nc391_8

Haggans CJ, Hutchins AM, Olson BA, Thomas W, Martini MC, Slavin JL. Effect of flaxseed consumption on urinary estrogen metabolites in postmenopausal women. Nutr Cancer. 1999;33(2):188-195. doi:10.1207/S15327914NC330211

Chang VC, Cotterchio M, Boucher BA, et al. Effect of Dietary Flaxseed Intake on Circulating Sex Hormone Levels among Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled Intervention Trial. Nutr Cancer. 2019;71(3):385-398. doi:10.1080/01635581.2018.1516789

McCullough RS, Edel AL, Bassett CMC, et al. The Alpha Linolenic Acid Content of Flaxseed is Associated with an Induction of Adipose Leptin Expression. Lipids. 2011;46(11):1043-1052. doi:10.1007/s11745-011-3619-0