They have been suggested to have anticarcinogenic potential (Boccardo et al, 2006). Plant lignans are currently being widely studied for their potential benefits for human health as their consumption has been correlated with lower risks for developing chronic diseases, such as breast cancer and coronary heart disease. However, studies of some classes of lignans, in particular the furofurans, are hampered by the lack of suitable standards to allow accurate analysis (Haajanen and Botting, 2006).
A study investigating the association between lignan intake and breast cancer in the early 1980s included small groups of women who were classified as vegetarian, or meat-eating. Over the course of 1 year, the concentrations of lignans excreted in their urine were compared with those of breast cancer patients who had had small breast tumours removed by surgery. The women with breast-cancer had a tendency to excrete smaller concentrations of lignans than vegetarians (Lamartiniere, 2000).
Isoflavonoids and lignans are diet constituents with chemo-preventive properties. They occur in certain vegetables as their glycosides from which they are released by the bacterial micro-flora in the gut. ...Show more