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Supplement Forms/Alternate Names:

HMR lignans, flaxseed lignans, sesame lignans


Lignans are compounds found in sesame and flaxseed products. They have been used to lower cholesterol and improve kidney and heart function. Lignans can be taken as a pill or powder.


There are no advised doses for lignans.

What Research Shows

May Be Effective

  • Breast cancer —may reduce the risk in postmenopausal women A1, A2

Not Enough Data to Assess

  • Heart health B1

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to take lignans in small doses for a short time. Not enough studies have been done to say whether they are safe to take for a long period. It is also not known whether it is safe to take by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.



A. Breast Cancer

A1. Velentzis LS, Cantwell MM, et al. Lignans and breast cancer risk in pre- and post-menopausal women: meta-analyses of observational studies. Br J Cancer. 2009 May 5;100(9):1492-1498.

A2. Buck K, Zaineddin AK, et al. Meta-analyses of lignans and enterolignans in relation to breast cancer risk. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Jul;92(1):141-153.

B. Heart Health

B1. Khalesi S, Pauktse E, et al. Sesame fractions and lipid profiles: a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials. Br J Nutr. 2016;115(5):764-773.

Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 6/22/2020