Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/21/2003
Publication Date: 3/8/2003
Citation: Boue, S.M., Wiese, T.E., Nehls, S., Burow, M.E., Elliott, S., Carter-Wientjes, C.H., Shih, B.Y., McLachlan, J.A., Cleveland, T.E. 2003. Evaluation of the estrogenic effects of legume extracts containing phytoestrogens. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 51:4873-4876.
Interpretive Summary: Phytoestrogens are produced by a wide variety of plants and were found to be responsible for livestock infertility in both sheep and captive cheetahs. However, recently, they were found to be beneficial to human health, and may even prevent certain diseases (cancer and heart disease). Much research has focused on identifying foods and food products that contain phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are found to be most abundant in legumes, a class of plants bearing pods containing edible seeds. In this study, soybean extract showed the highest level of estrogenic activity, followed by alfalfa sprout and mung sprout extracts. Sunflower extract displayed the highest activity at blocking the female hormone estrogen, followed by the extracts from green split pea and chick pea. These results indicate that other legumes besides soybean have estrogenic activities and will lead to a better understanding of the role of phytoestrogens in human health.
Technical Abstract: Twenty widely consumed legumes were tested for estrogenic and antiestrogenic activity. Legume extracts were prepared by extraction with 80 percent ethanol. Estrogenic activity was determined using an estrogen-dependent MCF-7 breast cancer cell proliferation assay. Antiestrogenic activity was monitored by measuring the ability of each legume extract to inhibit the cell proliferation effects of 0.01nM 17b-estradiol (E2). Soybean extract showed the highest level of estrogenic activity, followed by alfalfa sprout and mung sprout extracts. Sunflower extract displayed the highest antiestrogenic activity, followed by the extracts from green split pea and chick pea. These results indicate that other legumes besides soybean contain compounds with both estrogenic and antiestrogenic activities.