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What are isoflavones?Isoflavones are a type of phytoestrogen, or plant hormone, that resembles human estrogen in chemical structure yet are weaker. By mimicking human estrogen at certain sites in the body, isoflavones provide many health benefits.
The effects of the isoflavones are much less powerful than the estrogen hormones. In fact the effectiveness represents around 1/1000 of the estrogen hormenes). This is why isoflavones exercise a balancing effect when the level of estrogens is low, such as during the menopause. Isoflavones can also reduce the effect of the estrogen when the hormone levels are high, thereby reducing the risk of estrogen linked cancers.
Isoflavones are found in soybeans, chick peas and other legumes. However, soybeans are unique because they have the highest concentration of these powerful compounds. Soy contains many individual isoflavones, but the most beneficial are genistein and daidzein.
Chemical structure of isoflavonesBelow are the chemical structures of the two most important isoflavones: daidzein and genistein.
More info about isoflavones.