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The effects of soy isoflavones on obesity

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  • Anne Ørgaard
  • Lotte Jensen
Over the last decades, the prevalence of obesity and related diseases has increased rapidly in the Western world. Obesity is a disorder of energy balance and is associated with hyper-insulinemia, insulin resistance, and abnormalities in lipid metabolism, and it is one of the most important risk factors in the development of Type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, and certain cancers. Because of the lower frequency of these diseases in Asian countries, attention has been turned toward the Asian diet, which consists highly of soy and soy-based products. The health benefits associated with soy consumption have been linked to the content of isoflavones, the main class of the phytoestrogens. As a result of their structural similarities to endogenous estrogens, isoflavones elicit weak estrogenic effects by competing with 17beta-estradiol (E2) for binding to the intranuclear estrogen receptors (ERs) and exert estrogenic or antiestrogenic effects in various tissues. The estrogenic activities of soy isoflavones are thought to play an important role in their health-enhancing properties. Additionally, the isoflavones have been proved to exert non-ER-mediated effects through numerous other pathways. Genistein, daidzein, and glycitein are the principal isoflavones in soy. Genistein is the most thoroughly examined of these, because it is the most prevalent isoflavone in soy and the most active of these compounds, because of its higher binding affinity for the ER. Genistein and daidzein can be obtained in high levels in humans under certain nutritional conditions, and epidemiologic and laboratory data suggest that these compounds could have health benefits in human obesity. This review will focus on the latest results of research on isoflavones and their effect on obesity in cell cultures, rodents, and humans.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftExperimental Biology and Medicine (Maywood)
Vol/bind233
Udgave nummer9
Sider (fra-til)1066-80
Antal sider15
ISSN1535-3702
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 5 jun. 2008

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