Isoflavones: effects on cardiovascular risk and functions
Published on May 1, 2004
· DOI :10.1016/S0531-5131(03)01737-0
Abstract Isoflavones, plant polyphenols with estrogenic activity, are becoming widely distributed in foods and sold as supplements. Their similarity to estrogens suggests potential cardiovascular benefits. Two major areas, those of lipid lowering and of improved vascular function, will be reviewed. The novel properties of isoflavone metabolites formed in vivo that may confer specific cardiovascular protection are documented. Although lipid lowering is at best modest, effects on vasculature have been more consistent. Arterial compliance, a parameter of the elasticity or distensibility of large arteries is improved by as much as reported for estrogens. Vasodilatory effects of isoflavones or their metabolites on the microcirculation, suppression of adhesion molecules, antioxidant properties and inhibition of experimental atherosclerosis may provide opportunities for pharmacological intervention.