lignan for athletes

doctors and dietitians constantly advise a plant-based diets. Plant-based foods confer considerable health benefits, partly attributable to their abundant micronutrient content. Interest in lignan(a polyphenol) is largely focused on the contribution of their antioxidant activity to the prevention of various disorders, including cardiovascular disease and cancer.

lignan health benefits(summary)

1. Lowers the risk of cancer
2. Reduces hot flashes in postmenopausal women
3. Protect heart health
4. Reduces the level of bad cholesterol
5. Reduces free radical damage to cells
6. Helps clean the gut and improve bowel movement
7. Maintain ovarian and uterine health in women and prostrate health in men

why should lignan matter to athletes?

When we eat lignin rich foods, the healthy bacteria in the gut convert them to a lignan metabolite named enterolcatone. This circulates in the blood, binds to estrogen receptors and act like estrogen thus making up for the estrogen deficiency. However in situations of high levels of estrogen in body too, they bind to receptors while reducing the activity of natural estrogen. So its beneficial to all.
The enterolignans, enterodiol and enterolactone, are formed by the action of intestinal bacteria on lignan precursors found in plants. Because enterodiol and enterolactone can mimic some of the effects of estrogens, their plant-derived precursors are classified as phytoestrogens.
Lignans have been used to improve kidney function as well. Lignans can be taken as a pill or powder.
antibiotics also hinder gut bacteria to digest lignans properly, also Many factors such as diet, intestinal microflora, smoking, and obesity affect circulating lignan levels in the body.

in East Africa in the early 1970s, medical researchers began to recognize that high levels of fiber in the diet play a significant role in offsetting chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers. Even at that early stage, dietary fiber was recognized to be the remnants of plant cell walls that were resistant to digestion, including cellulose, hemicelluloses, lignin, and polysaccharides such as pectin.
Polyphenols are a large family of naturally occurring organic compounds characterized by multiples of phenol units. They are abundant in plants and structurally diverse.
Polyphenols are classified into groups, such as stilbenes, flavonoids, phenolic acids, lignans and others. Lignans, which possess a steroid-like chemical structure and are defined as phytoestrogens, are of particular interest to researchers. Traditionally, health benefits attributed to lignans have included a lowered risk of heart disease, menopausal symptoms, osteoporosis and breast cancer. However, the intake of naturally lignan-rich foods varies with the type of diet.
Diets rich in foods containing plant lignans have been consistently associated with reductions in risk of cardiovascular disease. However, it is likely that numerous nutrients and phytochemicals found in these foods contribute to their cardioprotective effects. In a prospective cohort study of 1,889 Finnish men followed for an average of 12 years, those with the highest serum enterolactone levels (a marker of plant lignan intake) were significantly less likely to die from coronary heart disease (CHD) or cardiovascular disease than those with the lowest levels. However, a recent study in male smokers did not find strong support for an association between serum enterolactone levels and CHD.
a study of 50 postmenopausal Dutch women found that higher levels of urinary enterolactone excretion were associated with higher rates of bone loss.
In plants, lignans function as defensive chemicals, protecting them from attack by insects, microorganisms, and even other plant. Current evidence highlight the bioactive properties of lignans as human health-promoting molecules.
Lignan precursors are found in a wide variety of plant-based foods, including seeds, whole grains and oats, barley, legumes, fruit(peach, strawberries, blueberries and cherries), and vegetables(especially kale, broccoli and brussel sprouts). red wine also contains some lignan and Flaxseed is the richest dietary source of lignan precursors(Flaxseeds may contain up to 800 times more lignans than any other foods). When consumed, lignan precursors are converted to the enterolignans, enterodiol and enterolactone, by bacteria that normally colonize the human intestine.