Dietary soy-derived isoflavone phytoestrogens. Could they have a role in coronary heart disease prevention?

Biochemical Pharmacology
M J Tikkanen, H Adlercreutz


Soy protein-containing foods are a rich source of isoflavone phytoestrogens, such as genistein and daidzein. There is great interest in these substances, as lower rates of chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease, have been associated with high dietary intake of soy-containing foods. Soy phytoestrogens bind weakly to estrogen receptors, and some bind more strongly to estrogen receptor-beta compared with estrogen receptor-alpha. A meta-analysis has indicated that isoflavone phytoestrogens lowered plasma cholesterol concentrations in subjects with initially elevated levels, but had little effect in subjects with normal cholesterol concentrations. These substances reportedly may also have beneficial effects on arterial endothelial function. In addition to these potentially antiatherogenic effects, many laboratories are investigating other possible mechanisms, including antioxidative and antiproliferative properties of these substances. We have shown that dietary supplementation with soy-derived isoflavones reduced the in vitro oxidation susceptibility of low-density lipoprotein (LDL). To further explore this phenomenon, we incorporated genistein and daidzein into LDL molecules in vitro with the aid of an artificial trans...Continue Reading


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