Isoflavones: What Are They?

Soy beansIsoflavones are chemical compounds found in plants and belong to the family of polyphenols.

They are commonly called phytoestrogens as they produce a response in the human body similar to estrogens.

Isoflavones have not only estrogenic activity, but also possess antioxidant and anticarcinogenic activity.

Isoflavones concentrations are particularly high in vegetables and mostly in the soybeans.

Soy is rich in three isoflavones: genistein, daidzein and glycitein. Of the total isoflavones identified in nature, these three compounds are those which have higher properties.

Properties of isoflavones

  • Regularization of cholesterol: isoflavones lower the levels of total cholesterol and LDL or “bad” cholesterol that is deposited in the arteries. Isoflavones also help raise the HDL fraction or “good cholesterol” in the blood. Moreover, these phytochemicals improve arterial vasomotor tone.
  • Antioxidant: isoflavones exert a protective effect against free radicals that cause cell damage. These properties make the isoflavones an excellent ally in preventing cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, ischemic heart disease, among others.

To obtain these benefits, the Food and Drug Administration found that it should be taken approximately 25 grams of soy protein per day. This means that we should take 20 grams of soy flour or 30 grams of mature soybeans or 100 g of tofu or 350 cc of soy beverage per day to cover this recommendation.

Due to the low consumption of soy products in the general population, it is necessary the incorporation of fortified food or dietary supplements.

Dietary supplements provide about 40 mg of isoflavones with 1-2 tablets per day. They should be consumed for at least 30 days to obtain the desired results.

Finally, before incorporating any dietary supplement to your regular diet is recommended that you consult your physician.



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