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Acatris warns consumers over flax lignan content


Acatris is warning customers that they may be wasting their money if they buy supplements claiming to be 'high lignan' but which don't list actual amounts on the label.

The company behind standardized high lignan sources LinumLife and LinumLife Extra says that unless consumers understand how flax lignans work, they could miss out on the health benefits they have to offer.

The main flaxseed lignan is secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG), which is found in the hull but which occurs in the oil in only small quantities. According to Acatris a minimum of 50mg of SDG is required each day for consumers to reap health benefits attributed to the ingredient.

"Most high lignan flax oils contain only 2-3mg of SDG per serving. This means consumers would have to take 20 servings of high lignan flax oil a day to reach a beneficial amount," said Jocelyn Mathern, RD and technical specialist for Acatris.

Mathern told that, by contrast, LinumLife Extra is standardized to contain 20 percent SDG - 50mg for each 250mg serving.

As part of its consumer awareness program Acatris will launch a new website in March to educate consumers about flax lignans and offer tips.

Mathern told that the company does not plan to take its complaint to any higher authority, however. Since there is no RDI/RDA of lignan companies which advertise their products as 'high lignan' do so entirely within the law.

Flax is the most prolific source of plant lignans, which have been reported to help improve prostate health, reduce menopausal symptoms, promote heart health, benefit breast health and help acne and hair loss.

LinumLife Extra was launched in the US in December 2004. Extracted from flax hulls by a patented process, it is the most potent flax lignum product on the market.

It is a more concentrated extract than the original LinumLife, launched in June 2003. At the time Laurent Leduc, president of the company's North America health division, said "flax has the potential to be even bigger than soy".

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