A lignan complex isolated from flaxseed does not affect plasma lipid concentrations or antioxidant capacity in healthy postmenopausal women

J Nutr. 2006 Jan;136(1):112-6. doi: 10.1093/jn/136.1.112.


A lignan complex rich in the plant lignan secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG) was isolated from flaxseed. SDG is metabolized by the colonic microflora to the mammalian lignans enterodiol (END) and enterolactone (ENL), and was hypothesized to reduce plasma lipid concentrations and improve antioxidant capacity. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a lignan complex, providing 500 mg/d of SDG, on serum concentration and urinary excretion of ENL, plasma lipids, serum lipoprotein oxidation resistance, and markers of antioxidant capacity. Healthy postmenopausal women (n = 22) completed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Women consumed daily a low-fat muffin, with or without a lignan complex, for 6 wk, separated by a 6-wk washout period. Serum ENL concentration, urinary ENL excretion, plasma concentrations of total cholesterol (TC), LDL cholesterol (LDL-C), HDL cholesterol (HDL-C), triacylglycerol (TAG), serum lipoprotein oxidation lag time, plasma Trolox-equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC), and ferric reducing ability of plasma (FRAP) were measured at the beginning and end of each intervention period. ENL concentrations in serum (P < 0.001) and ENL urinary excretion (P < 0.001) were significantly higher after the lignan complex intervention period compared with placebo. Plasma concentrations of TC, LDL-C, HDL-C, TAG, lipoprotein oxidation lag time, TEAC and FRAP were not affected. Daily consumption for 6 wk of a low-fat muffin enriched with a lignan complex significantly increased serum ENL concentrations and urinary ENL excretion in healthy postmenopausal women, but had no effect on plasma lipid concentrations, serum lipoprotein oxidation resistance, or plasma antioxidant capacity.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 4-Butyrolactone / analogs & derivatives*
  • 4-Butyrolactone / blood
  • 4-Butyrolactone / urine
  • Butylene Glycols / isolation & purification
  • Butylene Glycols / metabolism*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Denmark
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Flax
  • Glucosides / isolation & purification
  • Glucosides / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lignans / blood
  • Lignans / isolation & purification
  • Lignans / pharmacology*
  • Lignans / urine
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause / blood*


  • Butylene Glycols
  • Glucosides
  • Lignans
  • Lipids
  • 4-Butyrolactone
  • secoisolariciresinol diglucoside
  • 2,3-bis(3'-hydroxybenzyl)butyrolactone