Vegetarians and Asians have a far lower incidence of breast, endometrial, ovarian, and prostate cancers, and they normally have far higher blood levels of phytoestrogens - which could be a major contributory fact to the very positive result it has in health.
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Phytoestrogens occur naturally in plants, and are non-steroidal compounds, yet are structurally and functionally very similar to steroidal estrogens produced by the body, such as estradiol.
Phytoestrogen has been demonstrated to have major health benefits for all people, but especially for women as it helps to address climacteric syndromes in women, including vasomotor symptoms and post-menopausal health risks, and also exhibit anti-carcinogenic properties.
Phytoestrogens also helps to inhibit angiogenesis, cell cycle progression, and aromatase enzyme inhibition. Apart from this, they also stimulate sex hormones-binding globulin synthesis, have antioxidant properties, and digitalis-like activity.
The main classes of phytoestrogens are isoflavonoids, phytoalexins, and coumestans.
Asian people in Japan, Taiwan, and Korea, are estimated to consume 20-150 milligrams per day of isoflavones, in the form of tofu and miso - with an average daily intake of 40 milligrams.
In females who consumed red wine, enzymatic metabolic reactions, with conversions in the gastrointestinal tract, can be observed. These reactions produce compounds with structures similar to those in estrogens.
Phytoestrogen is metabolized in the liver and are then expelled in the urine. A decrease in hot flushes in Japanese menopausal women have been reported who have consumed phytoestrogens.
It has been shown that women drinking two glasses of red wine per day have a reduction in hot flushes, depression, as well as osteoporosis. The level of two glasses of red wine - containing resveratrol - may be sufficient to reduce estrogen-binding, which may in turn provide some beneficial effects in other areas, such as breast cancer.
Phytoestrogens are known to bind and activate the estrogen receptor, but most phytoestrogens are less active than the endogenous estrogens.
Resveratrol exerts its dramatic anti-estrogenic activity by preventing more potent endogenous estrogen from binding to the estrogen receptor.
In a clinical trial, postmenopausal women received trans-resveratrol for six months had increased bone mineral content and density.
It is important to mention that menopause is not simply a condition of estrogen deficiency, but that it is a different estrogenic state altogether. After menopause, estrogen becomes estrone as a result of reduced estradiol secretion by the ovaries.
Following menopause, diethylstilbestrol (4,1'-dihydroxy-trans-a,B-diethylstilbene) and ethynylestradiol - synthetic hormones - are extensively used as hormone replacement therapy - and it is with interest that we can note that resveratrol has a similar effect and benefits to that of the diethylstilbestrol and estradiol.
Transresveratrol can stimulates low concentrations of estrogen secretion in the body, inhibits the binding of labeled estradiol to the estrogen receptor, and activates transcription of estrogen-responsive reporter genes that are transferred into human breast cancer cells.
Drs. Lu and Serrero of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy have shown that resveratrol inhibits the growth of estrogen receptor-positive human breast cancer cells.
They showed that resveratrol antagonizes the breast cancer cell growth-stimulatory effect of estradiol in a dose-dependent fashion, both at the cellular level (cell-growth) and at the molecular level (gene activation).
In an in vitro study it was shown that resveratrol has a direct stimulating effect on bone formation in cultured osteoblastic cells, and can therefore be a helpful dietary supplement in prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity is the widely recognized as a biochemical marker for osteoblastic activity, and plays a role in bone mineralization, and resveratrol has been proven in a dose-dependently increase of ALP activity and DNA synthesis in osteoblastic MC3T3-E1 cells.
Furthermore, resveratrol promoted prolyl hydroxylase activity, demonstrating that it increased collagen synthesis activity.
Estrogens are essential for the development and function of female sex organs, as well as maintenance of bone strength, cardiovascular health, and brain function. With advancing age, women produce less estrogen and experience mid-life changes.
Conventional Hormone Replacement drugs, especially diethylstilbestrol, have been shown to cause serious side effects - which includes strokes, gallbladder disease, and certain types of cancer.
Studies have shown that trans-resveratrol enhances estrogen metabolism through the formation of a complex with estrogen receptors and can help women maintain normal estrogenic activity, reduce hot flushes, balance mood swings, maintain healthy bone density, promote cardiovascular health, and prevent the effects of premature ageing.