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Are Phytoestrogens Safe and Effective?

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Even though individuals generally use natural products because of their potential health and wellness advantages, a new assessment shows that it is not clear whether the advantages of plant-derived compounds that mimic estrogen outweigh the viable health risks. The findings are released in the British Journal of Pharmacology.


Phytoestrogens are compounds from plants which are similar in structure to estrogen and are observed in a variety of foods, in particular, soy. Some women may take phytoestrogens promoted as natural alternatives to hormone replacement treatment to help relieve menopausal signs and symptoms such as hot flushes. They are also used as protection against bone loss.

When the researchers made up of Ivonne Rietjens, PhD, of Wageningen University in The Netherlands, and her colleagues analyzed data from previous studies, they learned that several advantages of phytoestrogens have been mentioned, including decreased risks of cardiovascular sickness, obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, brain problems, and several types of cancer, additionally to decreased menopausal symptoms. Phytoestrogens are regarded as endocrine disruptors, nonetheless, which show that they have the abilities to cause harm and infertility, and multiplied risks of cancer in estrogen-sensitive organs such as the breast and uterus.

Endocrine Disruptors

Endocrine disruptors are substances that lead to hormonal imbalances in the body by acting as hormones in themselves that regulate the body's metabolic functions. These endocrine disruptors can lead to diabetes, thyroid problems, pituitary problems, infertility, irregular menstrual cycles and even cancers.


Given the information on the harmful health effects, the authors conclude that the present evidence on phytoestrogens’ beneficial effects shouldn’t be so obvious that they obviously outweigh the possible health risks. According to Rietjens, This implies that a definite conclusion on the health effects of phytoestrogens, positive or negative, cannot be made. It is only a matter of question of whether or not phytoestrogens are useful or unsafe, and the answers may be based on individuals’ age, health status, and even the presence or absence of specific gut bacteria. Further studies are needed to provide more information on these things.

To know more about the different benefits and disadvantages of phytoestrogens and other phytochemicals, feel free to read our other articles on this site.