Dr. Johanna Budwig’s Health Diet & Protocol

Reasons why plain flaxseed oil is better than high lignan flax oil

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As a German living in Germany, I have never seen flax oil with lignans being sold in any shops or online stores in this country. I assume that it didn’t exist when Dr. Budwig started to help cancer patients heal in the 1940s, or at any time prior to this, either. What seems to be traditionally sold here in the health food stores is pure straight flax oil with nothing added - no lignans, no antioxidants etc. and this clearly appears to be what Dr. Budwig’s patients used.

Plain flaxoil by itself of course is a traditional German food item. It is particularly popular in the form of a (Silesia-invented) dish which combines quark and potatoes in their jackets with flaxoil. So, long before Johanna Budwig’s discoveries, a combination of quark and flaxoil has been consumed by the entire family probably for centuries and many generations.

Lignans reputedly have many health benefits (see Research Studies On Animals & Humans Into the Effects of Flaxseed and Flaxseed Components (Lignan, Lignan Precursors & Oil) on Cancer and Tumor Growth). Although Dr. Budwig doesn’t seem to have mentioned lignans per se (and lignans themselves are a relatively recent “health” discovery), she knew about the health value of freshly ground flaxseeds and made them a “mandatory” part of her prescribed daily diet, thus providing the “consumer” with generous amounts of fresh lignans.

There are a number of disadvantages getting lignans from flaxoil with manufacturer-added pressing cake residue:

  1. The lignans aren’t fresh, i. e. invariably more or less stale as compared to the fresh ones found in freshly ground flaxseeds.
  2. Lignan flax oil is uneconomical since it contains less omega-3s than regular flaxoil (some of the space [if little] in the bottle is taken up by the pressing cake particles).
  3. Lignan flaxoil tends to contain added antioxidants (which must be avoided according to Dr. Budwig’s observations, compare Budwig FAQ: antioxidants).
  4. To keep the lignan particles afloat and in suspension, the flaxoil needs to be repeatedly shaken or stirred, thus introducing more or less air (oxygen) into the oil which accelerates oxidation (rancidity). Rancid oil should be carefully avoided and can be detected by an (even slightly) bitter taste, a “paint smell” or a smell of fish. (Incidentally, regular flax oil produced by Spectrum has been anecdotally reported as never presenting a rancidity problem while other brands have.)
  5. It’s likely that some air is already being introduced into the flaxoil when the lignan-containing pressing cake is added during the manufacturing process.
  6. Wolfgang Bloching, the German provider of all basic items needed for the implementation of the Budwig protocol and Dr. Budwig’s long-time close associate, only carried regular non-lignan flaxoil (he recently dropped the line since the lugging of the bottles had become too strenuous for him).

All these points considered, the introduction of high lignan flax oil in the US and other countries (but not in Germany) might possibly be motivated by purely economic reasons. The manufacturer adds pressing cake residue (which otherwise may have little value for him) back into the oil, while convincing the public that the product has thus been enhanced and often even charging a higher price.

One reason to use high lignan flax oil might be the following: those who don’t wish to bother with the larger aspects of the Budwig protocol beyond the basic flax oil/cottage cheese (or quark) mix, may benefit from the addition of (even slightly stale) lignans which are likely to retain some of their beneficial properties. In fact it seems that many of the apparent healing testimonials collected by Cliff Beckwith appear to concern people falling into this category (many of which you’ll find under Budwig Cancer Cure Testimonials).

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