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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 650984, 15 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/650984
Review Article

Diverse Effects of Phytoestrogens on the Reproductive Performance: Cow as a Model

1Department of Reproductive Immunology and Pathology, Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research, Polish Academy of Sciences, Tuwima 10 Street, 10-747 Olsztyn, Poland
2Department of Life Sciences, Doctoral School in Life Sciences, University of Siena, Miniato via A. Moro 2 St., 53100 Siena, Italy
3Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Warmia and Masuria, Zolnierska 14 C St., 10-561 Olsztyn, Poland

Received 14 January 2013; Accepted 4 March 2013

Academic Editor: Ewa Gregoraszczuk

Copyright © 2013 Izabela Wocławek-Potocka et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Phytoestrogens, polyphenolic compounds derived from plants, are more and more common constituents of human and animal diets. In most of the cases, these chemicals are much less potent than endogenous estrogens but exert their biological effects via similar mechanisms of action. The most common source of phytoestrogen exposure to humans as well as ruminants is soybean-derived foods that are rich in the isoflavones genistein and daidzein being metabolized in the digestive tract to even more potent metabolites—para-ethyl-phenol and equol. Phytoestrogens have recently come into considerable interest due to the increasing information on their adverse effects in human and animal reproduction, increasing the number of people substituting animal proteins with plant-derived proteins. Finally, the soybean becomes the main source of protein in animal fodder because of an absolute prohibition of bone meal use for animal feeding in 1995 in Europe. The review describes how exposure of soybean-derived phytoestrogens can have adverse effects on reproductive performance in female adults.