A multidisciplinary team of researchers led by investigators from the Extracellular Biomorphology Biomedic Institute, Federal Fluminense University in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, recently released a study in which they investigated the effects of a flaxseed-based diet on the tissue structure of the prostate in an animal model using rats with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
The study, “Flaxseed reduces epithelial proliferation but does not affect basal cells in induced benign prostatic hyperplasia in rats,” was published in the latest edition of the European Journal of Nutrition.
The results suggest that in the population of laboratory animals studied, flaxseed may be associated with a protective effect on the prostate epithelium in BPH-induced animals.
To study the effects of the flaxseed-based diet in the rat model, the researchers divided 40 experimental animals into the following groups of 10 rats:
- Animals that were fed a casein-based diet and did not have BPH: the casein control group (CCG);
- Animals that were fed a flaxseed-based diet and did not have BPH: the flaxseed control group (FCG);
- Animals that were fed a casein-based diet and did have BPH (hyperplasia-induced): the casein experimental group (HICG);
- Animals that were fed a flaxseed-based diet and did have BPH (hyperplasia-induced): the flaxseed experimental group (HIFG).
After a period of 20 weeks in which the animals were feeding upon the prescribed diet in their designated groups, the tissue structure of their prostates were analyzed to determine the epithelial thickness, epithelial area, individual luminal area, and total area of prostatic alveoli.
The primary study finding showed that the HIFG had a smaller epithelial thickness and lower percentage of papillary projections in the prostatic alveoli. Moreover, the average (mean) epithelial thickness in the HICG was greater than that in the other groups. There were no significant differences found between CCG and FCG animals.
“Our results demonstrate that a flaxseed-based diet has a direct effect on the prostate epithelium and stroma of rats subjected to androgen stimulation, decreasing both the proliferation of epithelial cells and the changes in the pattern of collagen fibers …
“One limitation of this study was the use of in natura flaxseed meal, which prevented the evaluation of whether its effects on the prostatic tissue are due to a single compound or due to the synergistic action of several compounds,” the authors wrote.