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Mental Health Supplements, Phytoestrogens - isoflavones, lignans, information and benefits of Phytoestrogens

Mental Health > supplements-vitamins : Phytoestrogens

Phytoestrogens [fyt-oh-ES-truh-juns]


There are three main categories of phytoestrogens: isoflavones, lignans, and resorcyclic acid lactones. Two of these, isoflavones and lignans are found in the diet. The third, resorcyclic acid lactones are not found in food and will not be discussed. Isoflavones, and more specifically, genestein and daidzein, are found in soy products. They are also found in high concentrations in other beans, including kidney beans, chickpeas, red beans and lentils.

Lignans are found in flaxseed. Flaxseed also contains the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha linolenic acid. Fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains are other sources of lignans. Phytoestrogens are weak estrogens but bind the estrogen receptors in the body. They can have estrogen-like effects on some tissues in the body. On others, they can act as anti-estrogens. Most of the research on soy phytoestrogens has been done on whole soy protein, not on the isolated compounds, genestein and daidzein. It is effective in lowering serum cholesterol levels and preventing cardiovascular disease. Epidemiological data points to soy's ability to decrease the incidence of breast, endometrial and prostate cancers. It can minimize some symptoms of menopause including hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Soy may reduce the incidence of osteoporosis but data is mixed

. The phytoestrogens in flax have many of the same effects. In addition, the, omega-3 fatty acids have additional actions on the cardiovascular system and in the prevention of breast cancer. It is recommended to take 50-100 milligrams of soy isoflavones daily. Good sources of phytoestrogens include tofu, soy milk, soy nuts and miso as well as other beans and lentils. It is best to take the whole soy foods or soy protein powder since information on the individual isoflavones is lacking. One to two tablespoonsful of ground flaxseed or high lignan flaxseed oil is an adequate daily dose.

What do phytoestrogens do for you?

Phytoestrogens are weak estrogens that may lower your cholesterol and your risk of certain cancers. If you're a woman going through menopause, phytoestrogens may reduce hot flashes and vaginal dryness.

Where do phytoestrogens originate?

There are three main categories of phytoestrogens. Isoflavones and lignans are two come from food. Isoflavones come mostly from soybeans, but also from other beans. Your best bets for isoflavones are soy foods including tofu, soy milk and soy nuts as well as other beans. Lignans come from flaxseed, fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. Ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil are good ways to get lignans.

How do phytoestrogens work?

Phytoestrogens are very unusual. In some parts of your body they work like estrogens; in other parts of your body they act as anti-estrogens. A lot of research has been done on soy and soy protein. A diet high in soy may reduce your cholesterol level and your risk of heart disease. The phytoestrogens in flaxseed may have the same effect.

Who can take phytoestrogens?

You may take phytoestrogens to lower your cholesterol. If you're a menopausal woman you may consider phytoestrogens to reduce the number of hot flashes you have.

Who shouldn't take phytoestrogens?

Some health care experts suggest caution if you have or had breast or uterine cancer and want to take phytoestrogens. However, this is a
highly debated issue. There is no definitive answer yet.

What is the recommended phytoestrogen dosage?

There is no Recommended Dietary Allowance for phytoestrogens. You may take 50 to 100 milligrams of soy isoflavones a day. Get your soy from whole soy foods or soy protein powder. You may take 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed or

Did you know that:

Flaxseed is also a good way to get Omega-3 essential fatty acids that may reduce your risk of heart disease.

Mental Health > supplements-vitamins: Phytoestrogens