According to Wahlqvist, a sensitive indicator of estrogenic activity is vaginal cell maturation. Vaginal smears revealed significantly increased estrogenic activity in the women eating the soy flour. To increase their estrogen levels as they did, they had eaten about 3 tablespoons of defatted soy flour a day in their diets. The 25 postmenopausal women in the study ranged in age from 51 to 70 years. (Wahlquist ML, FRACP: Soy mimics female hormone estrogen, British Medical Journal 301: 905-6, 1990.)

When I saw this study, I was impressed. I personally am not a candidate for estrogen replacement therapy, so I was thrilled to find something in research studies on food that could perhaps help me. Phytoestrogens are found in only some plants and mimic the female hormone estrogen. Soybeans are plants that contain the phytoestrogens, and soy flour is a derivative of the soybean.

Dr. Herman Aldercreutz of the University of Helsinki in Finland reported that for those beyond the reproducing years, phytoestrogens could be highly beneficial. (Aldercreutz H, Fotsis T, Bannwart C, Brunow C, Hose TA:

Isotope dilution gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric method of the determination of lignans and isoflavonoids in human urine, including identification of genistein, Chin Chim Acta 199: 263-278, 1991.) As an example, a diet moderately high in phytoestrogens over a lifetime, especially in women whose estrogen production has virtually stopped, may diminish a person’s risk for late onset of chronic diseases.

Dr. Aldercreutz has been one of the most productive researchers in the field of phytoestrogens in plants for the past 20 years. I personally have copies of at least 10 of his studies that have been published in various journals.


This index provides a list of further research summaries and recipes on some of the many ways foods can help prevent or reverse specific conditions. Just click on the ones that are of interest to you.

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Rosemary C. Fisher.
Copyright 1998, 1999 []. All rights reserved.