Conclusion

In the past decades, major stride was made in women's health by launching SERM, e.g. tamoxifen and raloxifene (Jordan, 1998). Their promising results on the chemopre-vention of breast cancer in clinical studies shed light on the development of new SERM in pharmaceutical industry. Isoflavones have become prominent agents for estrogen-dependent diseases because they can protect women from osteoporosis and exhibit anti-estrogenic properties in the breast, uterus and prostate tissue to prevent cancer formation. They are natural compounds derived from edible plants that have been consumed by Asians, South Americans, and vegetarians for long periods apparently without any undesirable side effects (Olsen and Love, 1997). Clinical and experimental evaluation of those isoflavones could led to the discovery of more efficacious agents with better phar-macokinetic properties. Further, balanced diets containing proper isoflavone contents could be recommended for pre- and post-menopausal women and patients with localized prostate cancer. Serious scientific enquiries on phytoestrogens and phytoestrogen containing plants (Kudzu, Soy) represent just one kind of many important bioactive non-nutrients found in plants. Many other active ingredients in natural products with potential pharmacological activity required further investigation in the future.

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