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Soy compounds thwart estrogen

10:08am, November 5, 2003

From New Orleans, at the e.hormone 2003 Conference

Although soybeans have gained renown as a source of the isoflavones genistein and daidzein, which can mimic the activity of the hormone estrogen, those same compounds occasionally have the opposite effect and block estrogen's activity. Now, a team of New Orleans researchers reports that a different family of soy isoflavones blocks estrogen even more consistently.

These unusual isoflavones, known as glyceollins, might lead researchers to improved drugs that starve breast cancers of the estrogen that many depend upon, notes research leader Stephen M. Boué of the Agriculture Department's Southern Regional Research Center.

When soybeans are infected or otherwise stressed, the plants make three glyceollins with natural pesticidal properties. In their experiments, Boué and his team infected tissue from soybean seeds with a fungus. Within 3 days, the concentration of glyceollins in the bean tissue

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