Flaxseed is one of the richest sources of lignans and is increasingly used in food products or as a supplement. Plant lignans can be converted by intestinal bacteria into the so-called enterolignans, enterodiol and enterolactone. For a proper evaluation of potential health effects of enterolignans, information on their bioavailability is essential. The aim of this study was to investigate whether crushing and milling of flaxseed enhances the bioavailability of enterolignans in plasma. In a randomized, crossover study, 12 healthy subjects supplemented their diet with 0.3 g whole, crushed, or ground flaxseed/(kg body weight . d). Each subject consumed flaxseed for 10 successive days separated by 11-d run-in/wash-out periods, in which the subjects consumed a diet poor in lignans. Blood samples were collected at the end of each run-in/wash-out period, and at the end of each supplement period. Plasma enterodiol and enterolactone were measured using LC-MS-MS. The mean relative bioavailability of enterolignans from whole compared with ground flaxseed was 28% (P < or = 0.01), whereas that of crushed compared with ground flaxseed was 43% (P < or = 0.01). Crushing and milling of flaxseed substantially improve the bioavailability of the enterolignans.