Nutrition reviews

Pleiotropic effects of genistein in metabolic, inflammatory, and malignant diseases.

PMID 23865800


Genistein is a soy-derived biologically active isoflavone that exhibits diverse health-promoting effects. An increasing body of evidence shows that genistein influences lipid homeostasis and insulin resistance, counteracts inflammatory cytokines, and possesses antidiabetic properties. Genistein also impedes cancer progression by promoting apoptosis, inducing cell cycle arrest, modulating intracellular signaling pathways, and inhibiting angiogenesis and metastasis of neoplastic cells. This review summarizes the pleiotropic functions of genistein in common health disorders such as metabolic syndrome, chronic inflammatory diseases, and cancer. In the current era of uncontrolled health expenditure, a focus on the clinical development of nutritional agents with the capacity to prevent a variety of common health disorders is needed. As a micronutrient that exerts multifaceted effects ranging from antidiabetic to anticarcinogenic functions, genistein should be clinically developed further for use in the prevention and treatment of a variety of health disorders.