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Isoflavones are a type of phytoestrogen found in high amounts in soy foods. Genistein is one of the most metabolically active isoflavones. Soy isoflavones, including genistein, have a weak estrogenic effect in the body that can be either agonistic or antagonistic. In other words, phytoestrogens can either mimic or block the effect of estrogen. Soy isoflavones can reduce the incidence of hot menopausal hot flashes, and can also help maintain a healthy prostate gland in men.
Soybean is one of the plants containing the isoflavone genistein, which can help regulate and maintain normal menstrual cycles and menopausal transitions. In addition, it provides a wide variety of the many health benefits associated with soy.
Genistein and Estrogen
The subject of scientific studies since 1966, genistein research has been published in many respected journals. In vitro, genistein has been shown to bind to the same receptor sites as estrogen. This may help to maintain normal menstrual cycles and menopausal transitions by two competing and seemingly paradoxical actions. By competing for human estrogen receptors, genistein may reduce the effects of estrogen in the body. Conversely, when there is too little estrogen (the situation during menopause) , phytoestrogens - genistein and daidzein - may substitute for the lack of human estrogen, mitigating the effects of its absence.
Genistein and Cell Growth
One of genistein's most promising functions is its potential to inhibit capillary proliferation. According to studies done in vitro, genistein protects tissues by neutralizing vascular endothelial growth factor (vegF) . Soybeans are the only significant dietary source of genistein; however, most Americans fail to consume soy foods in significant amounts. In Asia, the daily intake can be up to 20 times that of a Western diet.