lignan

Lignans

Lignans

Lignans are phyto-nutrients, a class of plant compounds beneficial to human health. They are one three main groups of plant compounds classified as phytoestrogen – the other two being isoflavonoids and coumestans. Lignans are a normal part of a healthy diet and widely distributed in foods and plants in small amounts. The most common dietary sources of lignans are whole grains, seeds, nuts, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. The predominant plant lignans of dietary importance are matairesinol, hydroxymatairesinol (HMR), secoisolariciresinol, and pinoresinol.

Dietary lignans are converted by gut microflora to the mammalian lignans enterolactone (ENL) and enterodiol (END). Matairesinol and HMR are directly converted to ENL while pinoresinol, lariciresinol, and secoisolariciresinal are first converted END, which then partially converts to ENL. ENL is the primary circulating mammalian lignan and is used as the primary biomarker for plant lignan intake. Large population studies have found that higher blood levels of ENL promote cardiovascular health, breast health in women, and prostate health in men.* Studies also suggest that supplementation with lignans may help reduce hot flashes associated with menopause.*