What are Lignans and where can I find them?

November 09, 2015

What are Lignans and where can I find them?

The lignans are a group of chemical compounds found in plants. Plant lignans are polyphenolic substances derived from phenylalaninevia dimerization of substituted cinnamic alcohols (see cinnamic acid), known as monolignols, to a dibenzylbutane skeleton 2. This reaction is catalysed by oxidative enzymes and is often controlled by dirigent proteins

Plant lignans are co-passengers of dietary fiber, and therefore fiber-rich food items are often good sources of lignans. Flax seed andsesame seed contain higher levels of lignans than most other foods. The principal lignan precursor found in flaxseed issecoisolariciresinol diglucoside. Other sources of lignans include cereals (rye, wheat, oat and barley - rye being the richest source),soybeans, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage, and some fruits, particularly apricots and strawberries.[5]

Secoisolariciresinol and matairesinol were the first plant lignans identified in foods. Pinoresinol and lariciresinol are more recently identified plant lignans that contribute substantially to the total dietary lignan intakes. Typically, lariciresinol and pinoresinol contribute about 75% to the total lignan intake whereas secoisolariciresinol and matairesinol contribute only about 25%.[5] This distribution may change as the contributions of syringaresinol and hydroxymatairesinol have not properly been quantified in foods.

Link to product

Source

Amount per 100 g

Flaxseed

300,000 µg (0.3 g)

Sesame seed

29,000 µg (29 mg)

Brassica vegetables

185 - 2321 µg

Grains

7 - 764 µg

Red wine

91 µg

A recent study[7] shows the complexity of mammalian lignan precursors in the diet. In the table below are a few examples of the 22 analyzed species and the 24 lignans identified in this study.

Mammalian lignan precursors as aglycones (µg / 100 g). Major compound(s) in bold.

Foodstuff

Pinoresinol

Syringaresinol

Sesamin

Lariciresinol

Secoisolariciresinol

Matairesinol

Hydroxymatairesinol

Flaxseed

871

48

not detected

1780

165759

529

35

Sesame seed

47136

205

62724

13060

240

1137

7209

Rye bran

1547

3540

not detected

1503

462

729

1017

Wheat bran

138

882

not detected

672

868

410

2787

Oat bran

567

297

not detected

766

90

440

712

Barley bran

71

140

not detected

133

42

42

541



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