Scientific Evidence Supporting the Beneficial Effects of Isoflavones on Human Health
Gómez Zorita, Saioa
González Arceo, Maitane
Fernández Quintela, Alfredo
Eseberri Barace, Itziar
Trepiana Arin, Jenifer
Portillo Baquedano, María Puy
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Nutrients 12(12) : (2020) // Article ID 3853
Isoflavones are phenolic compounds with a chemical structure similar to that of estradiol. They are present in several vegetables, mainly in legumes such as soy, white and red clover, alfalfa and beans. The most significant food source of isoflavones in humans is soy-derived products. Isoflavones could be used as an alternative therapy for pathologies dependent on hormonal disorders such as breast and prostate cancer, cardiovascular diseases, as well as to minimize menopausal symptoms. According to the results gathered in the present review, it can be stated that there is scientific evidence showing the beneficial effect of isoflavones on bone health and thus in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis on postmenopausal women, although the results do not seem entirely conclusive as there are discrepancies among the studies, probably related to their experimental designs. For this reason, the results should be interpreted with caution, and more randomized clinical trials are required. By contrast, it seems that soy isoflavones do not lead to a meaningful protective effect on cardiovascular risk. Regarding cancer, scientific evidence suggests that isoflavones could be useful in reducing the risk of suffering some types of cancer, such as breast and endometrial cancer, but further studies are needed to confirm these results. Finally, isoflavones could be useful in reducing hot flushes associated with menopause. However, a limitation in this field is that there is still a great heterogeneity among studies. Lastly, with regard to isoflavone consumption safety, it seems that they are safe and that the most common adverse effect is mild and occurs at the gastrointestinal level.
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).