The Difference Between Fem-Flax® and Whole Ground Flaxseed
In 2007 the Mayo Clinic conducted a double-blind study on women of menopausal age to determine the effects of whole ground flaxseed on common menopause symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, etc.
Each woman consumed 40 grams daily (8 teaspoons) of whole ground flaxseed. Notably, of the women who were able to finish the test, a 57% reduction in symptoms was realized.
Unfortunately, only about half of the women taking flaxseed (not the placebo) were able to finish the test. The other half fell out of the test (some as early as one of two days) due to problems with diarrhea and other digestive difficulties.
While the average American diet is severely lacking in fiber, whole ground flaxseed is very high in soluble and non-soluble fiber. Easily half of the women in the Mayo Clinic test could not tolerate 8 teaspoons (of whole ground flaxseed) per day and were forced to drop out early.
Why 8 teaspoons per day?
The non-placebo recipients during the testing phase where given unadulterated whole ground flaxseed. The dose was determined so that the active phytonutrients in flaxseed would have a chance to produce the desired results.
Later studies revealed ways in which the active ingredients could be isolated, thus reducing the dose requirements by volume and weight. This reduction process allowed a much more potent dose while at the same time, eliminating the risk of ingesting too much fiber.
The active ingredients in flaxseed come from the outer hull portion of the seed (18% of total seed weight) and not the larger, oily embryo portion of the seed. These are called “lignans”. These flax hull lignans produce a weak phytoestrogenic effect and once metabolized, have the unique capacity to attach themselves to estrogen receptor cells within the body.
While not as potent as real female estrogens (estradiol), taken in sufficient quantity, they can produce the same ameliorating effects as real female hormones.
As realized in the 2007 study, the problem comes in providing a strong enough dose (to be effective), without (at the same time) producing digestive concerns.
Flax Hull Lignans
Researchers soon found a number of ways to isolate the hard outer covering from the embryo portion of the seed. Various methods were tried including water baths, steam baths, acetate baths, or various combinations of these in an attempt to successfully loosen the hull from the seed, making separation easier.
However, some researchers determined that the introduction of any liquid (during the separation process) could reduce the shelf-life or the phytonutrient bioavailability of the finished product, or allow the development of mold or other bacteria.
Fem-Flax uses a patented dry, cold-press process which exacts pressures of 10,000 lbs. per square inch to separate the flax hull lignans. Further refinement reduces the product to a fine powder which is encapsulated into individual gel-caps containing 700mg of 99.9% pure flax hull lignans, each.
The recommended dose of Fem-Flax (6 capsules per day) only equates to 4.2 grams of product, less than a single teaspoon (5 grams) but offers more potency than the 8 teaspoons per day (of whole ground flaxseed) given to the Mayo Clinic test subjects, and with near-zero risk of problematic digestive side-effects.
Encapsulated Fem-Flax is easy to take and provides accurate dosage delivery without measuring. In addition to the digestive risks, a daily regimen of whole ground flaxseed can be a messy proposition and/or cause unnecessary weight gain.
Mixed into water, whole ground flaxseed has a tendency to stick to the sides of the glass and clump to the bottom, making it nearly impossible to consume the entire dose. Also, 8 teaspoons of whole ground flaxseed would require several glasses of water.
To offset this approach, some manufacturers contend that whole ground flaxseed can be toasted and added as a topping to either ice cream or yogurt. Other suggestions call for adding small amounts of whole ground flaxseed (as an ingredient) to baked muffins or bread. This “add to other food solution” quickly begs the question; “Using these methods, how much ice cream, yogurt, muffins, or bread slices would be necessary per day to deliver 40 grams of whole ground flaxseed?”
You can see that the “added to food” delivery method is totally ineffectual and can quickly add unnecessary and unwarranted calories and carbohydrates to the daily diet and this, at a time in life when most women have added concerns about weight gain. Also, this method does not take into account the additional food cost and preparation time required.
The other but usually unmentioned concern is flavor. Frankly and in our opinion, whole ground flaxseed does not taste very good. By comparison, wheat germ is a culinary delight. One of our competitors even adds vanilla and MSG to their encapsulated product to help mask any off-putting flavors.
Another disadvantage and concern related to any whole ground flaxseed product, is longevity or shelf-life. Whole ground flaxseed will quickly degrade and become rancid within days or weeks, even with refrigeration. This is due to the high oil content of whole ground flaxseed. Once the container is opened, whole ground flaxseed should not be exposed to air or light.
Due to the unique and patented production process, Fem-Flax remains entirely dry, potent, and stable (even without refrigeration) for four years or more. Again, it must be remembered that Fem-Flax is 99.9% pure flax hull lignans produced from the dry outer hull covering (where all of the phytonutrients are contained) and not the oily embryo seed portion.
Encapsulated Fem-Flax offers the safest, most potent, and accurate of all flax hull lignan delivery methods on the market today. At just $34.95 (for a one-month supply), it is also one of the least expensive.