Monday, November 23, 2009

Plant Phytoestrogens Could be a Natural HRT

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a popular topic with women in my age bracket since we will all to need to decide whether to start HRT or not sometime in the next decade. All of us seem to have an opinion regarding whether HRT is a good or bad idea. While the symptoms of menopause are unpleasant (from what I hear), the possibility of increasing your probability of breast cancer makes HRT a scary option at best.

This recent study seems to indicate that plant phytoestrogens can be used as a natural HRT that won’t increase the risk of breast cancer. The abstract highlights a number of foods as containing phytoestrogens. These foods and their phytoestrogens include:

Soy products (daidzein, genistein and glycitein)
Mung beans (coumestrol)
Alfalfa sprouts (coumestrol)
Grape skins/red wine (resveratrol)

Genistein, resveratrol and glycitein all increased apoptosis (cancer cell death) but resveratrol appeared to be most effective. Additionally, daidzein appeared to cause a slight increase in breast cancer risk. However, since daidzein is found in soy along with genistein and glycitein I don’t perceive eating whole soy foods (edamame, tofu, soy milk, miso) to be a risk. Without knowing what specifically is contained in soy supplements I would be even more hesitant to use those at this point.

According to the Linus Pauling Institute resveratrol is found in grapes, wine, grape juice, peanuts, blueberries, bilberries, and cranberries. Interestingly resveratrol is well absorbed but reaches peak concentration in 60 minutes. This would seem to me to indicate that resveratrol consumption should be spread out during the day to be most effective.

On my last trip to Costco I picked up a package of dark grapes for the resveratrol and a bottle of concentrated fruit juice with resveratrol. I also noted that Costco is carrying resveratrol in pill form if anyone is interested.

I will be later after I have had a chance to exercise and get my day planned. I hope you all have a happy and healthy day today.


  1. That's very interesting. I noticed when I first went vegetarian that soy foods really effected my moods.

  2. Veggie85,

    Did the soy impact your mood positively or negatively? I have heard other women comment that they are calmer when eating soy.

    I believe that our bodies send us subtle signals of what they like by how we feel after we eat them. I have often thought of keeping a food journal to see if I could identify which foods my body didn't seem to enjoy. But, sometimes there is just not enough time in the day.



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