Estrogenic Activity and Molecular Mechanisms of Coumestrol-induced Biological Effects
Coumestrol is a plant estrogen isolated from legumes, soybeans, brussel sprouts and spinach. Clover and soybeans have the highest concentrations, and are food sources for both humans and animals. In recent years the biological effects of coumestrol on mammalian health are controversial, debated and not well defined. Previous studies have demonstrated that higher coumestrol consumption may result in a lower incidence of breast and prostate cancer. On the other hand, several studies in animals have shown that coumestrol induces an increase in uterine weight, a decrease in ovulation and cancer. Due to this conflicting information, we present a review of current research on the estrogenic activity of coumestrol, with an emphasis on its cellular and molecular mechanisms of action.