Genistein is a soy-derived isoflavone and phytoestrogen with antineoplastic activity. Genistein binds to and inhibits protein-tyrosine kinase, thereby disrupting signal transduction and inducing cell differentiation. This agent also inhibits topoisomerase-II, leading to DNA fragmentation and apoptosis, and induces G2/M cell cycle arrest. Genistein exhibits antioxidant, antiangiogenic, and immunosuppressive activities.
Genistein is one of several known isoflavones. Isoflavones compounds, such as genistein and daidzein, are found in a number of plants, but soybeans and soy products like tofu and textured vegetable protein are the primary food source. Genistein is a natural bioactive compound derived from legumes and has drawn because of its potentially beneficial effects on some human degenerative diseases.
Inhibitor of tyrosine protein kinase; competitive inhibitor of ATP in other protein kinase reactions. Antiangiogenic agent, down-regulates the transcription of genes involved in controlling angiogenesis.
The main source of genistein are soybeans. Other legumes, such as chickpeas, contain small amounts of genistein.
Benefits of Genistein
Genistein has may health benefits and works on several fronts: it acts as a phytoestrogens, antioxidant, anti-cancer agent and it could help people with metabolic syndrome.
The estrogenic activity of genistein has been confirmed in many studies. Of all the isoflavones, genistein has the strongest estrogenic activity. The estrogenic effect of genistein may explain its protective action against osteoporosis and its possible effect on body weight reductions. Genistein is also used to ease menopause symptoms, such as hot flushes.
Genistein is a strong antioxidant. Genistein removes damaging free radicals and reduces lipid peroxidation. Genistein increases the activity of other antioxidant enzymes such as glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase and glutathione reductase.
Genistein seems to reduce the risk for some hormone related cancers, principally breast cancer and prostate cancer. There are lots of theories to explain the anti-cancer action of genistein: inhibition of angiogenesis, inhibition of tyrosine kinases, antioxidant property, and anti-estrogen action (it is known that estrogen increases risk for certain cancers). Genistein binds with estrogen receptors, preventing the estrogen from binding and initiating cancer growth.
Genistein inhibits cellular cholesterol synthesis and cholesterol esterification. Genistein also reduces fatty acid oxidation and exerts lipid lowering effect. Only oxidized LDL cholesterol is absorbed by the arterial cells and prevention of this oxidation will reduce the risk for arteriosclerosis. Gensistein prevents the formation of hearth attacks and strokes by acting as anticlotting agent.
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