Search JIM Advanced Search

Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine ›› 2003, Vol. 1 ›› Issue (4): 296-300.doi: 10.3736/jcim20030421

Previous Articles     Next Articles

Medical value of isoflavones

Ning Du(), Yong Xu   

  1. Department of Traumatology,Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Second Medical University,Shanghai Institute of Traumatology and Orthopedics, Shanghai 200025, China
  • Received:2003-09-22 Online:2003-12-20 Published:2003-12-20

Isoflavones as a kind of phytoestrogen exist in soy plant widely. With the advantages of estrogen, they can regulate endocrine function of the human body, reduce blood cholesterol, decrease the incidence of coronary heart disease, prevent osteoporosis, inhibit tumor growth, and relieve pain. This article summarized the investigations on the medical value of isoflavones in recent years.

Key words: isoflavones, coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, menopause syndrome, cancer, analgesics, anti-inflammatory agents

CLC Number: 

  • R961
[1] Adlercreutz H, Mazur W . Phyto-oestrogens and Western diseases[J]. Ann Med, 1997,29(2):95-120
doi: 10.3109/07853899709113696
[2] Anthony MS, Clarkson TB, Bullock BC , et al. Soy protein versus soy phytoestrogens in the prevention of diet-induced coronary artery atherosclerosis of male cynomolgus monkeys[J]. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol, 1997,17(11):2524-2531
doi: 10.1161/01.ATV.17.11.2524
[3] Crouse JR III, Terry JG, Morgan TM , et al. Soy protein containing isoflavones reduces plasma concentrations of lipids and lipoproteins[J].Circulation, 1998, 97: 816
[4] Potter SM, Baum JA, Teng H , et al. Soy protein and isoflavones:their effects on blood lipids and bone density in postmenopausal women[J]. Am J Clin Nutr, 1998,68(6 suppl):1375S-1379S
doi: 10.1093/ajcn/68.6.1375S
[5] Anthony MS, Clarkson TB . Comparison of soy phytoestrogens and conjugated equine estrogens on atherosclerosis progression in postmenopausal monkeys[J].Circulation, 1998, 97: 829
[6] Tikkanen MJ, Wahala K, Ojala S , et al. Effect of soybean phytoestrogen intake on low density lipoprotein oxidation resistance[J]. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 1998,95(6):3106-3110
doi: 10.1073/pnas.95.6.3106
[7] Makela S, Savolainen H, Aavik E , et al. Differentiation between vasculoprotective and uterotrophic effects of ligands with different binding affinities to estrogen receptors alpha and beta[J]. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 1999,96(12):7077-7082
doi: 10.1073/pnas.96.12.7077
[8] Nakashima S, Koike T, Nozawa Y . Genistein, a protein tyrosine kinase inhibitor,inhibits thromboxane A2-mediated human platelet responses[J]. Mol Pharmacol, 1991,39(4):475-480
[9] Schoene NW, Guidry CA. Dietary soy isoflavones inhibit activation of rat platelets[J].J Nutr Biochem, 1999, 10: 421-426
doi: 10.1016/S0955-2863(99)00023-6 pmid: 15539318
[10] Nestel PJ, Yamashita T, Sasahara T , et al. Soy isoflavones improve systemic arterial compliance but not plasma lipids in menopausal and perimenopausal women[J]. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol, 1997,17(12):3392-3398
doi: 10.1161/01.ATV.17.12.3392
[11] Washburn S, Burke GL, Morgan T , et al. Effect of soy protein supplementation on serum lipoproteins,blood pressure,and menopausal symptoms in perimenopausal women[J]. Menopause, 1999,6(1):7-13
[12] West SG, Stoney Ca M, Habash D L , et al. Soy supplements with phytoestrogens reduce blood pressure at rest and during stress in middle-aged men[A]. The fourth international symposium the role of soy in preventing and treating chronic disease[C]. San Diego, CA, November 4-7, 2001.
[13] Yoon HK, Chen K, Baylink DJ , et al. Differential effects of two protein tyrosine kinase inhibitors, tyrphostin and genistein,on human bone cell proliferation as compared with differentiation[J]. Calcif Tissue Int, 1998,63(3):243-249
doi: 10.1007/s002239900521
[14] Chen XW, Garner SC, Anderson JJ . Isoflavones regulate interleukin-6 and osteoprotegerin synjournal during osteoblast cell differentiation via an estrogen-receptor-dependent pathway[J]. Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 2002,295(2):417-422
doi: 10.1016/S0006-291X(02)00667-8
[15] Gao YH, Yamaguchi M . Inhibitory effect of genistein on osteoclast-like cell formation in mouse marrow cultures[J]. Biochem Pharmacol, 1999,58(5):767-772
doi: 10.1016/S0006-2952(99)00162-8 pmid: 10449185
[16] Rassi CM, Lieberherr M, Chaumaz G , et al. Down-regulation of osteoclast differentiation by daidzein via caspase 3[J]. J Bone Miner Res, 2002,17(4):630-638
doi: 10.1359/jbmr.2002.17.4.630 pmid: 11918220
[17] Kajiya H, Okabe K, Okamoto F , et al. Protein tyrosine kinase inhibitors increase cytosolic calcium and inhibit actin organization as resorbing activity in rat osteoclasts[J]. J Cell Physiol, 2000,183(1):83-90
doi: 10.1002/(ISSN)1097-4652
[18] Gao YH, Yamaguchi M . Suppressive effect of genistein on rat bone osteoclasts: apoptosis is induced through Ca2+ signaling[J]. Biol Pharm Bull, 1999,22(8):805-809
doi: 10.1248/bpb.22.805
[19] Anderson JJ, Ambrose WW . Orally dosed genistein from soy and prevention of cancellous bone loss in two ovariectomized rat models[J]. J Nutr, 1995,125(suppl):783-799
[20] Arjmandi BH, Alekel L, Hollis BW , et al. Dietary soybean protein prevents bone loss in an ovariectomized rat model of osteoporosis[J]. J Nutr, 1996,126(1):161-167
doi: 10.3109/09637489609028565 pmid: 8558297
[21] Arjmandi BH, Birnbaum R, Goyal NV , et al. Bone-sparing effect of soy protein in ovarian hormone-deficient rats is related to its isoflavone content[J]. Am J Clin Nutr, 1998,68(6 suppl):1364s-1368s
doi: 10.1093/ajcn/68.6.1364S
[22] Ishida H, Uesugi T, Hirai K , et al. Preventive effects of the plant isoflavone,daidzein and genistein,on bone loss in ovariectomized rats fed a calcium-deficient diet[J]. Biol Pharm Bull, 1998,21(1):62-66
doi: 10.1248/bpb.21.62
[23] Fanti O, Faugere MC, Gang Z , et al. Systemic administration of genistein partially prevents bone loss in ovariectomized rats in a nonestrogen-like mechanism[J]. Am Nutr, 1998,68(suppl):1517-1522
[24] Alekel DL, Germain AS, Peterson CT , et al. Isoflavone-rich soy protein isolate attenuates bone loss in the lumbar spine of perimenopausal women[J]. Am J Clin Nutr, 2000,72(3):844-852
doi: 10.1093/ajcn/72.3.844
[25] Olsen E L, Jensen JE, Kenneth DR , et al. Isoflavone-rich soymilk prevents bone loss in the lumbar spine of postmenopausal Women. A 2-y Study[A]. The fourth international symposium the role of soy in preventing and treating chronic disease[C]. San Diego, CA, November 4-7, 2001.
[26] Mei J, Yeung SS, Kung AW . High dietary phytoestrogen intake is associated with higher bone mineral density in postmenopausal but not premenopausal women[J]. J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 2001,86(11):5217-5221
doi: 10.1210/jcem.86.11.8040
[27] Tang GWK . The climacteric of Chinese factory workers[J]. Maturitas, 1994,19(13):177-182
doi: 10.1016/0378-5122(94)90069-8 pmid: 7799823
[28] Albertazzi P, Pansini F, Bonaccorsi G , et al. The effect of dietary soy supplementation on hot flushes[J]. Obstet Gynecol, 1998,91(1):6-11
doi: 10.1016/S0029-7844(97)00603-0 pmid: 9464712
[29] Upmalis D, Lobo R, Bradley L . Evaluation of the safety and efficacy of an oral soy extract in the treatment of vasomotor symptoms in menopausal women[J]. Menopause, 1999,6: 327
[30] Dalais FS, Rice GE, Wahlqvist ML , et al. Effects of dietary phytoestrogens in postmenopausal women[J]. Climacteric, 1998,1(2):124-129
doi: 10.3109/13697139809085527 pmid: 11907915
[31] Kolonel LN . Variability in diet and its relation to risk in ethnic and migrant groups[J]. Basic Life Sci, 1988,43: 129-135
doi: 10.1007/978-1-4684-5460-4_14
[32] Akiyama T, Ishida J, Nakagawa S , et al. Genistein,a specific inhibitor of tyrosine specific protein kinases[J]. J Biol Chem, 1987,262(12):5592-5595
[33] Lamartiniere CA, Murrill WB, Manzolillo PA , et al. Genistein alters the ontogeny of mammary gland development and protects against mammary cancer in rats[J]. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med, 1997,217: 358-364
[34] Wei H, Wei L, Frankel K , et al. Inhibition of tumor promoter induced hydrogen peroxide formation in vitro and in vivo by genistein[J]. Nutr Cancer, 1993,20(1):1-12
doi: 10.1080/01635589309514265
[35] Fotsis T, Pepper M, Adlercreutz H , et al. Genistein, a dietary ingested isoflavonoid, inhibits cell proliferation and in vitro angiogenesis[J]. J Nutr, 1995,125(3 suppl):790S-797S
[36] Terson TG, Kim H, Barnes S . Genistein may inhibit the growth of human mammary epithelial(HME) cells by augmenting transforming growth factor beta(TGFb) signaling[J]. Am J Clin Nutr, 1998, 68(suppl): 1527S (abstr)
[37] Lee HP, Gourley L, Duffy SW , et al. Dietary effects on breast cancer risk in Singapore[J]. Lancet, 1991,337(8751):1197-1200
doi: 10.1016/0140-6736(91)92867-2 pmid: 1673746
[38] Peterson G, Barnes S . Genistein inhibition of the growth of human breast cancer cells independence from estrogen receptors and the multi-drug resistance gene[J]. Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 1991,179(1):661-667
doi: 10.1016/0006-291X(91)91423-A
[39] Zava DT, Duwe G . Estrogenic and antiproliferative properties of genistein and other flavonoids in human breast cancer cells in vitro[J]. Nutr Cancer, 1997,27(1):31-40
doi: 10.1080/01635589709514498
[40] Lamartiniere CA . Protection against breast cancer with genistein:a component of soy[J]. Am J Clin Nutr, 2000,71(6 suppl):1705s-1707s
doi: 10.1556/AAlim.29.2000.2.8 pmid: 10837323
[41] Peterson G, Barnes S . Genistein and biochanin A inhibit the growth of human prostate cancer cells but not epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine autophosphorylation[J]. Prostate, 1993,22(4):335-345
doi: 10.1002/(ISSN)1097-0045
[42] Morton MS, Chan PS, Cheng C , et al. Lignans and isoflavonoids in plasma and prostatic fluid in men: samples from Portugal, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom[J]. Prostate, 1997,32(2):122-128
doi: 10.1002/(ISSN)1097-0045
[43] Schleicher RL, Lamartiniere CA, Zheng M , et al. The inhibitory effect of genistein on the growth and metastasis of a transplantable rat accessory sex gland carcinoma[J]. Cancer Lett, 1999,136(2):195-201
doi: 10.1016/S0304-3835(98)00322-X
[44] Onozawa M, Kawamori T, Baba M , et al. Effects of a soybean isoflavone mixture on carcinogenesis in prostate and seminal vesicles of F344 rats[J]. Jpn J Cancer Res, 1999,90(4):393-398
doi: 10.1111/cas.1999.90.issue-4
[45] Mentor-Marcel R, Lamartiniere CA, Elgavish A. Mechanisms by which genistein may prevent prostate cancer in a transgenic mouse model[A]. In: Proceedings of the international conference on prostate cancer research[C]. Iowa City, IA, 1999.
[46] Rosenberg ZRS, Jenkins DJ, Brown TJ , et al. Flavonoids can block PSA production by breast and prostate cancer cell lines[J]. Clin Chim Acta, 2002,317(1-2):17-26
doi: 10.1016/S0009-8981(01)00698-2 pmid: 11814454
[47] Sadowska-Krowicka H, Mannick EE, Oliver PD , et al. Genistein and gut inflammation: role of nitric oxide[J]. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med, 1998,217(3):351-357
doi: 10.3181/00379727-217-44244 pmid: 9492347
[48] Rice MM, LaCroix AZ, Lampe JW , et al. Dietary soy isoflavone intake, postmenopausal estrogen use,and self-reported arthritis in older Japanese American women[A]. The fourth international symposium the role of soy in preventing and treating chronic disease[C], San Diego, CA, November 4-7, 2001.
Rice MM, LaCroix AZ, Lampe JW ,et al. Dietary soy isoflavone intake, postmenopausal estrogen use,and self-reported arthritis in older Japanese American women[A]. The fourth international symposium the role of soy in preventing and treating chronic disease[C], San Diego, CA, November 4-7, 2001.
[49] Gabor M, Razga Z . Effect of benzopyrone derivatives on simultaneously induced croton oil ear oedema and carrageenin paw oedema in rats[J]. Acta Physiol Hung, 1991,77(3-4):197-207
[50] Kalashnikova NA, Baturo AP, Locosova AK , et al. Enzyme characteristics of bacteria of the genera Citrobacter and Hafnia and their identification during laboratory diagnosis of intestinal infections[J]. Zh Mikrobiol Epidemiol Immunobiol, 1974,( 2):106-109
[51] Min B, Oh SR, Lee HK , et al. Sophoricoside analogs as the IL-5 inhibitors from Sophora japonica[J]. Planta Med, 1999,65(5):408-412
doi: 10.1055/s-1999-14016 pmid: 10418325
[52] Kim H, Xia H, Li L , et al. Attenuation of neurodegeneration-relevant modifications of brain proteins by dietary soy[J]. Biofactors, 2000,12(1-4):243-250
doi: 10.1002/biof.5520120137 pmid: 11216492
[53] File SE, Jarrett N, Fluck E , et al. Eating soya improves human memory[J]. Psychopharmacology (Berl), 2001,157(4):430-436
doi: 10.1007/s002130100845 pmid: 11605103
[54] Cai Q, Wei H . Effect of dietary genistein on antioxidant enzyme activities in SENCAR mice[J]. Nutr Cancer, 1996,25(1):1-7
doi: 10.1080/01635589609514423 pmid: 8837857
[55] Wei H . Photoprotective action of isoflavone genistein: models mechanisms, and relevance to clinical dermatology[J]. J Am Acad Dermatol, 1998,39(2, pt1):271-272
doi: 10.1016/S0190-9622(98)70099-4
[56] Strom BL, Schinnar R, Ziegler E , et al. Exposure to soy-based formula in infancy and endocrinological and reproductive outcomes in young adulthood[J]. JAMA, 2001,286(5):807-814
doi: 10.1001/jama.286.7.807
[57] Kurzer MS . Hormonal effects of soy in premenopausal women and men[J]. J Nutr, 2002,132(3):570S-573S
doi: 10.1038/sj/oji/0801938 pmid: 11880595
[58] Foth D, Cline JM . Effects of mammalian and plant estrogens on mammary glands and uteri of macaques[J]. Am J Clin Nutr, 1998,68(6 Suppl):1413S-1417S
doi: 10.1051/rnd:19990147 pmid: 9848509
[59] Chang HC, Doerge DR . Dietary genistein inactivates rat thyroid peroxidase in vivo without an apparent hypothyroid effect[J]. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol, 2000,168(3):244-252
doi: 10.1006/taap.2000.9019
[60] Yellayi S, Naaz A, Szewczykowski MA , et al. The phytoestrogen genistein induces thymic and immune changes: a human health concern[J]. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 2002,99(11):7616-7621
doi: 10.1073/pnas.102650199
[1] Kayode Ezekiel Adewole. Nigerian antimalarial plants and their anticancer potential: A review. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2020, 18(2): 92-113.
[2] Preecha Nootim, Nattiya Kapol, Waranee Bunchuailua, Panoopat Poompruek, Parankul Tungsukruthai . Current state of cancer patient care incorporating Thai traditional medicine in Thailand: A qualitative study. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2020, 18(1): 41-45.
[3] Carlos R. Oliveira, Daniel G. Spindola, Daniel M. Garcia, Adolfo Erustes, Alexandre Bechara, Caroline Palmeira-dos-Santos, Soraya S. Smaili, Gustavo J.S. Pereira, André Hinsberger, Ezequiel P. Viriato, Maria Cristina Marcucci, Alexandra C.H.F. Sawaya, Samantha L. Tomaz, Elaine G. Rodrigues, Claudia Bincoletto. Medicinal properties of Angelica archangelica root extract: Cytotoxicity in breast cancer cells and its protective effects against in vivo tumor development. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2019, 17(2): 132-140.
[4] Syed Nasir Abbas Bukhari, Fahad Hussain, Hnin Ei Thu, Zahid Hussain. Synergistic effects of combined therapy of curcumin and Fructus Ligustri Lucidi for treatment of osteoporosis: cellular and molecular evidence of enhanced bone formation. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2019, 17(1): 38-45.
[5] Goulnar Kasymjanova, Anh-Thi Tran, Victor Cohen, Carmela Pepe, Lama Sakr, David Small, Jason Scott Agulnik, Robert Thomas Jagoe. The use of a standardized Chinese herbal formula in patients with advanced lung cancer: A feasibility study. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2018, 16(6): 390-395.
[6] Chang-quan Ling, Jia Fan, Hong-sheng Lin, Feng Shen, Zhen-ye Xu, Li-zhu Lin, Shu-kui Qin, Wei-ping Zhou, Xiao-feng Zhai, Bai Li, Qing-hui Zhou, on behalf of the Chinese Integrative Therapy of Primary Liver Cancer Working Group. Clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of primary liver cancer with integrative traditional Chinese and Western medicine. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2018, 16(4): 236-248.
[7] Ching-Feng Su. Home care with acupuncture increased the quality of life in a patient with advanced cancer with neuropathic pain induced by bone metastasis: A case report. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2018, 16(3): 208-210.
[8] Lizhou Liu, Simone Petrich, Blair McLaren, Lyndell Kelly, G. David Baxter. An integrative Tai Chi program for patients with breast cancer undergoing cancer therapy: Study protocol for a randomized controlled feasibility study. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2018, 16(2): 99-105.
[9] Chun-song Hu, Tengiz Tkebuchava. SEEDi1.0-3.0 strategies for major noncommunicable diseases in China. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2017, 15(4): 265-269.
[10] Ghazaleh Heydarirad, Hossein Rezaeizadeh, Rasool Choopani, Seyed Hamdollah Mosavat, Ahmad Ameri. Efficacy of a traditional Persian medicine preparation for radiation-induced xerostomia: A randomized, open-label, active-controlled trial. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2017, 15(3): 201-208.
[11] Shui-jie Shen, Yong-hong Zhang, Xiao-xia Gu, Shui-ju Jiang, Ling-jun Xu. Yangfei Kongliu Formula, a compound Chinese herbal medicine, combined with cisplatin, inhibits growth of lung cancer cells through transforming growth factor-β1 signaling pathway. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2017, 15(3): 242-251.
[12] Asad Ghiasuddin, Joyce Wong, Andrea M. Siu. Complementary and alternative medicine practices, traditional healing practices, and cultural competency in pediatric oncology in Hawai'i. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2016, 14(5): 374-379.
[13] Gloria Gronowicz, Eric R. Secor Jr., John R. Flynn, Liisa T. Kuhn. Human biofield therapy does not affect tumor size but modulates immune responses in a mouse model for breast cancer. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2016, 14(5): 389-399.
[14] Jesmin Mondal, Asmita Samadder, Anisur Rahman Khuda-Bukhsh. Psorinum 6× triggers apoptosis signals in human lung cancer cells. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2016, 14(2): 143-153.
[15] Qing Ji, Yun-quan Luo, Wen-hai Wang, Xuan Liu, Qi Li, Shi-bing Su. Research advances in traditional Chinese medicine syndromes in cancer patients. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2016, 14(1): 12-21.
Full text



[1] Xi Lin, Jian-ping Liu. Tai chi for treating rheumatoid arthritis. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 82
[2] Li Zhou, Hong-xing Zhang, Ling-guang Liu, Wen-jun Wan. Effect of electro-acupuncture at Fenglong (GV 16) on nitric oxide and endothelin in rats with hyperlipidemia. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 89-92
[3] Daniel Weber, Janelle M Wheat, Geoffrey M Currie. Inflammation and cancer: Tumor initiation, progression and metastasis,and Chinese botanical medicines. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(11): 1006-1013
[4] Mei-na Ye, Hong-feng Chen, Yi-qin Cheng, Yan-sheng Zhang, Ping Li, Gang Gui, Li-ying Chen, Hao Chen, Hong-yu Dai. Study protocol for a self-controlled case study to evaluate the safety and standardization for external application of Chinese medicine Jiuyi Powder. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2011, 9(11): 1199-1205
[5] Li-fang Wang, Jin-feng Wang, Wei-fang Jin, Hong-fu Wang, Shao-fen Zhang, Jian-jun Gao. Effects of daidzein on steroid receptor coactivator-1 expression in MC3T3-E1 cells and the mechanism. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2011, 9(11): 1248-1253
[6] Xiang-yu Kong, Yuan Hao, Tai-xiang Wu, Yan-ming Xie. Adverse drug reactions or adverse events of Chaihu Injection: A systematic review. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(12): 1124-1132
[7] Yong Miao Edwin. Clinical critical qualitative evaluation of the selected randomized controlled trials in current acupuncture researches for low back pain. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(12): 1133-1146
[8] Kai Qu, Tian-fang Wang, Yan Zhao, Xiao-lin Xue, Xiu-yan Wu, Hua-liang Deng, Lu Yang, Li-liYu , Hong Yue, Qing-guo Wang. Common syndrome factors of traditional Chinese medicine in chronic renal failure based on the questionnaire investigation among experts. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(12): 1147-1152
[9] Yong-mei Liu, Rui-hua Liu, Wen-jun Liu, Li Liu , Zhi-kui Wu, Yu-ying Chen. Effects of Chinese herbal medicine Yiqi Huoxue Formula on TGF-p/smad signal transduction pathway and connective tissue growth factor in rats with renal interstitial fibrosis. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(12): 1165-1173
[10] Mei-na Ye, Hong-feng Chen, Rui-juan Zhou, Ming-juan Liao. Effects of Astragalus polysaccharide on proliferation and Akt phosphorylation of the basal-like breast cancer cell line. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2011, 9(12): 1339-1346