The research has been welcomed by Linnea, supplier of HMRLignan (7-hydroxymatairesinol), as evidence that the lignan contributes significantly to a healthy diet regimen, and "validates HMRlignan as an exceptional choice for inclusion in dietary supplements and functional foods."
Plant lignans come from sources such as flax seed, whole grain cereals, berries, vegetables and fruits. Several hundred individual lignans have been discovered but the main research has focussed on lignans from flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum), but a growing number of studies are looking at lignans from Norwegian spruce bark (Picea abies).
The new research, which was not funded by Linnea, adds to understanding about lignan intakes since the 7-hydroxymatairesinol content of cereals has not previously been reported due to "destructive extraction methods," said Robin Ward, Linnea's vice president of marketing.
"The results of this study demonstrate that 7-hydroxymatairesinol is a common lignan in foods, and an important micronutrient in the human diet," he said.
The researchers, led by Annika Smeds from the Department of Biochemistry and Pharmacy, Abo Akademi University, used high performance liquid chromatography in combination with mass spectroscopy (HPLC-MS/MS) to analyse 24 plant lignans in 16 species of cereal, including sesame, linseed, wheat, barley, corn, oat bran, and four species of nuts.
According to the study authors, 18 of the 24 lignans have not previously been identified in these sources, and account for more than 50 per cent of the total lignan content. In other words, said Linnea in a statement, the new lignans are dominant in wheat, barley, corn, and quinoa bran and in amaranth.
In addition, for triticale bran the proportion was almost 50 per cent, while in rye, oats, buckwheat, millet, and dhurra bran, the proportion was reported to be between 26 and 44 per cent.
Full study details and results have not been seen by NutraIngredients.com, but Ward confirmed to this website that the study, "Identification of 7-hydroxymatairesinol and several other previously unidentified lignans in cereals, oilseeds and nuts - the role of extraction method," has been submitted for publication by peer reviewed journal.
"With its abundance in grains and other foods, it is clear that 7-hydroxymatairesinol is a significant source of dietary lignans as part of a healthy diet regimen," said Ward.
Switzerland-based Linnea have been active in promoting independent and Linnea-funded studies behind the ingredient, and Ward told NutraIngredients.com that more research would be coming out shortly. "[We] expect to release new data shortly on anti-inflammatory activity for heart health and effects of HMR on enlarged prostate," he said.
HMRLignan is metabolised in the body to form mostly enterolactone (ENL) and some 7-hydroxyenterolactone (HENL), but no enterodiol.
A number of studies have reported links between increased dietary lignan intake, and/or increased levels of enterolactone and/or enterodiol and protection/ reduced risk of a wide range of conditions, most notably breast cancer, prostate cancer, and reduced hair loss.