The chemical structure, classification, source, metabolism, physiological and health effects of plant phytoestrogens and mechanisms of their action are reviewed. The available knowledge suggests that phytoestrogens can affect a number of physiological and pathological processes related to reproduction, bone remodeling, skin, cardiovascular, nervous, immune systems and metabolism. Due to these effects, phytoestrogens and phytoestrogen-containing diet can be useful for the prevention and treatment of menopausal symptoms, skin aging, osteoporosis, cancer, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, immune and metabolic diseases. Possible problems in understanding and application of phytoestrogens (multiple targets and multiple estrogen receptor -dependent and -independent mechanisms of action, the discrepancy between the results of experimental and clinical studies, adequate source of phytoestrogen) have been discussed.
Keywords: Bone; Cardiovascular; Immune system; Nervous system; Phytoestrogen; Reproduction.
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