Phyto-oestrogens – Beneficial or Harmful for Treating Vasomotor Menopausal Symptoms?

Phyto-oestrogens – Beneficial or Harmful for Treating Vasomotor Menopausal Symptoms?

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Introduction
Numerous health benefits have been linked to phyto-oestrogens including preventative and therapeutic effects against carcinogenesis, osteoporosis and atherosclerosis as well as other benefits (Patisaul and Jefferson, 2011). However many have also been found to cause detrimental effects such as disturbance of lactation, the timing of puberty, compromised fertility as well as paradoxically increasing the risks of what they are meant to prevent/treat etc. as mentioned by Patisaul and Jefferson (2011).

Phyto-oestrogens are a class of plant-derived polyphenols that have a very similar binding site chemical structure to 17β-oestradiol, the oestrogen hormone found in mammals, according to Limer (2004).

They therefore also exhibit oestrogenicity as their binding sites can interact with mammalian oestrogen receptors (ER-α, ER-β and GPR30). We shall focus on their effect on the major ERs (ER-α, ER-β) in this article. Mammalian oestrogen binds to ER- α and ER-β with equal affinity unlike phyto-oestrogens which most are more selective for ER- β (Anklesaria, 2011). Their selective nature to particular oestrogen receptor targets classifies phyto-oestrogens as a type of natural selective oestrogen receptor modulator (SERM) (Anklesaria, 2011) and a dietary oestrogen as most are synthesised by plants and found in a vast array of foods (Kuhnle et al., 2008)

There are a number of groups of phyto-oestrogens but the major classes are: isoflavones (genistein, daidzein, biochanin A), lignans (enterolactone and enterodiol), coumestans (coumestrol) and the stilbenes (resveratrol) ([3] Limer and Speirs (2004).

A study conducted by [2] Kuhnle et al. (2008) which was the first study to measure individual concentrations of phyto-oe...


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...oods of Animal Origin: Dairy Products, Eggs, Meat, Fish and Seafood. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 56(21), 10099-10104.
Kurzer, MS., (2008) Soy consumption for reduction of menopausal symptoms. Inflammopharmacology, 16(5), 227-229.
Limer, JL., Speirs, V. (2004) Phyto-oestrogens and Breast Cancer Chemoprevention. Breast Cancer Research, 6(3), 119-127.
Patisaul, HB., Jefferson, W., (2010) The Pros and Cons of Phytoestrogens. Frontiers in neuroendocrinology, 31(4), 400-419.
Pitkin, J., (2012) Alternative and complementary therapies for the menopause. Menopause International, 18(1), 20-27.
Shen, W., Stearns, V., (2009) Treatment strategies for hot flushes. Expert opinion on pharmacotherapy, 10(7), 1133-1144.
Sunita, P., Pattanayak, SP., (2011) Phytoestrogens in postmenopausal indications: A theoretical perspective. Pharmacognosy Journal, 5(9), 41-47.

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