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Phytoestrogens

FX menopause is formulated to augment phytoestrogens in healthy adult women. A continuous high intake is not recommended if pregnant, taking contraceptives or full dose HRT, undergoing fertility treatments or with low blood pressure, oestrogen or over-active thyroid related disorders or using blood thinners / anticoagulants, e.g. warfarin.

Women on medication / with any existing medical condition - please contact Customer Service to discuss whether to seek the advice of a Health Care Professional prior to use. To help you decide on suitability, Nutrition FX would be happy to send a full information pack to your Health Care Professional.

Phytoestrogens are sterol molecules found in plants that have been shown to have both estrogenic and antiestrogenic properties (over 1000 known). In general these sterol molecules only exert a very weak estrogenic activity, although their effects increase when large quantities are ingested. Of these plant compounds and the metabolic products they produce in humans, two main categories exist: isoflavones and lignans.

A wide range of commonly consumed foods contain amounts of these different Phytoestrogens. For example, soy, garbanzo beans and other legumes, which are most often consumed in products like tempeh, soy, miso and tofu, are a particularly good source of the isoflavones genistein and daidzein. Lignins are a constituent of the cell wall of plants with the highest amounts found in the husk of seeds used to produce oils, especially flaxseed. The whole seed added to cereal or salad, or flax seed meal or flour can be used as a food additive. Coumestans, another category of Phytoestrogen, which are between 30 and 100 times more potent than isoflavones, can be found in high concentration in sunflower seeds and bean sprouts.

Phytoestrogens were first identified in the early 1930s, with the discovery that soybeans, willows, dates, and pomegranates contain compounds with structural similarity to estrogens. It was unknown whether the compounds had biological activity in animals until a concurrent discovery was made in Phytoestrogens' effect on Australian sheep. Female sheep were plagued by reproductive system lesions and reduced fertility. Animal experts linked the problem to the sheep's grazing on a species of clover (Trifolium subterraneum). Research identified the clover compounds equol and coumestrol as being responsible for the sheep's reproductive problems and began to look at other species. Equol and other phytoestrogens such as enterolactone and enterodiol were discovered in human biological fluids in concentrations as much as 5,000 times greater than endogenous estrogens. The question then became whether these compounds presented a risk to humans or whether their presence might be in some way beneficial.

Today, we now know from human clinical trials and molecular and cellular biology experiments that certain phytoestrogens can confer notable health benefits related to cardiovascular diseases, including the lowering levels of blood cholesterol, cancer by inhibiting several stages of cancer initiation and progression, osteoporosis via stimulating osteoblasts (ipriflavone), menopausal symptoms and maintaining prostate health in men, which is in part validated by the epidemiological evidence that the rates of these conditions are more favourable in both men and women, among populations that consume diets containing a higher proportion of plant derived foods, particularly soy and soy products. Dietary phytoestrogens also dilute xenoestrogen-type carcinogens by binding at the alpha and beta oestrogen receptors (ERα + ERβ) found in many cells and acting as anti-oestrogens

Soybeans are one of the most highly researched source of phytoestrogens. For healthy women, soy protein is safe to consume and can be helpful in the alleviation of menopausal symptoms. Studies have indicated that a 45% improvement can be seen in vasomotor symptoms . Soy can even help younger women manage PMS and other menstrual disturbances.

The FDA, American Heart Association, and leading health experts recommend eating more soy protein to lower cholesterol, protect the heart, and reduce menopausal symptoms. New research shows that eating soy is associated with stronger bones, reduced menstrual disturbances like PMS, and improved breast, endometrial, colon and prostate health. In vitro studies show genistein and daidzein inhibit growth of both oestrogen receptor-positive and oestrogen receptor-negative human breast cancer cell lines. Studies also show soy helps weight loss by blocking storage of fat.

Along with Soy foods, Soy can be supplied as protein isolate, protein concentrate or as Soy germ. There is evidence to show that isolated isoflavones without Soy protein, or protein without isoflavones do not have such beneficial effects on health problems such as cholesterol, as when the compounds work together. Similarly, the effects of Soy on overall health and well-being are not supported by one or a few isolated compounds only, but by the natural synergistic interaction between all of them.

Constituents of types of Soy 

Soy Isolate / Concentrate Soy Germ
Saponins Saponins
Isoflavones Isoflavones
Protein Protein
  Phytic Acid
  Lecithin
  Fibers
  Tocopherols (incl Vitamin E)
  Phytosterols
  Oligosaccharides
  Essential Fatty Acids

Ongoing research into the use of Phytoestrogens as nutraceuticals (not as the basis for pharmaceutical products) continues to discover beneficial dietary therapies. For example, highly effective management of menopausal symptoms and reduction in long term health risk presented by oestrogen deficiency is possible via phytoSERMs (SERM - selective oestrogen receptor moderator). A SERM selects specific oestrogen receptors in the body and either stimulates or suppresses an oestrogen-like response, thus causing beneficial activity in tissues such as bone and skin, while preventing excessive oestrogen-like responses in other parts of the body, such as the breast and endometrium.

An example of a phytoSERM is fx menopause, developed for menopause management; examples of pharmaceutical SERMs include Tamoxifen and Raloxifene, important treatments for breast cancer and osteoporosis, respectively.

Cautions:

Women being treated for oestrogen dependent cancers and, most importantly breast cancer should not assume that concentrated supplements containing phytoestrogens are safe to use. Although often mild in action when compared to conventional HRT, phytoestrogens function physiologically by binding at the oestrogen receptors found in many cells, including both breast and endometrial tissue, promoting or moderating estrogenic activity and have the potential, by doing so, to block the activity of therapies design to stop oestrogenic activity e.g. Tamoxifen.