Phytoestrogens exert different estrogen receptor-dependent and -independent pharmacological actions. They share with estrogens several structural features and show greater affinity for the newly described estrogen receptor-beta. Many hope that phytoestrogens can exert the cardioprotective, anti-osteoporotic and other beneficial effects of the estrogens used in hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women without adversely affecting the risk of thrombosis and the incidence of breast and uterine cancers. Although there are many positive indications that phytoestrogens can fulfil this role, it remains to be proven: controlled interventional studies are lacking, and many questions remain unanswered. This review analyzes, on the basis of available experimental and epidemiological studies, the pros and cons of phytoestrogen use and describes the potential tissue targets and mechanisms of action of phytoestrogens.
Keywords: Phytoestrogens, Therapeutic Perspectives, estrogen, anti-osteoporotic, cardioprotective, thrombosis
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport