Mammalian Lignan Production from Various Foods.

January 1, 1991 Human Health and Nutrition Data 0 Comments

Mammalian Lignan Production from Various Foods.

Year: 1991
Authors: L U Thompson, P Robb, M Serraino, F Cheung.
Publication Name: Nutr. Cancer.
Publication Details: Volume 16; 43.


Epidemiological studies have reported negative correlations between cancer incidence and vegetarian or semivegetarian diets. It has been suggested that mammalian lignans such as EL and ED, which are produced in the colon from precursors in foods, play a role in the cancer-protective effect of these diets. The objective of the present study was to determine the production of mammalian lignans from 68 common plant foods by using a technique of in vitro fermentation with human fecal microflora, which simulates colonic fermentation. Results showed a range in the amount of lignans (as ED and EL) produced from 21 to 67,541 micrograms per 100 g sample. On the average as a group, flaxseed produced the highest amounts (20,461 ± 12,685), followed by dried seaweeds (900 ± 247), whole legumes (562 ± 211), cereal brans (486 ± 90), legume hulls (371 ± 52), whole grain cereals (359 ± 81), vegetables (144 ± 23), and fruits (84 ± 22). Vegetables produced the second highest concentration of lignans (1,546 ± 280) when the data were expressed on a moisture-free basis. Flaxseed flour and defatted flaxseed meal were the highest producers of lignans (mean of 60,110 ± 7,431). A larger amount of ED than EL was produced from flaxseed and may be a reflection of the high concentration of SDG in flaxseed. SDG can be transformed by bacterial enzymes to ED and then further oxidized to EL. Lignan production with the in vitro method used in this study correlated well to urinary lignan excretion data reported in previous studies using rats and humans. The authors suggest that this data should be useful in formulating high lignan producing diets for the purpose of reducing and perhaps treating cancer. Further, a small amount of flaxseed may be used to supplement a diet that may be low in legumes, cereals, vegetables and fruits in order to ensure the production of anti-cancer mammalian lignans.

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