WHAT IS DAIDZEIN?
Daidzein is an isoflavone and part of the phytonutrient family (a group of chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants and have multiple health benefits but are not considered essential to human health). It is mainly found in soybeans and has been linked with cancer prevention. In this article I will be discussing daidzein in greater detail.
WHEN WAS DAIDZEIN DISCOVERED?
Daidzein was discovered in 1938 by the Hungarian biochemist Albert Szent-Györgyi as part of the flavonoid family. He initially referred to the flavonoids as vitamin P but it was later discovered that they are not essential to human health and therefore not technically vitamins.
HOW DOES YOUR BODY USE DAIDZEIN?
Daidzein is a powerful antioxidant (a substance which protects your body’s cells from oxidative damage) which also has cancer fighting properties. The list below outlines the main functions of daidzein in the human body:
– Acting as an antioxidant and protecting your body from dangerous free radicals (harmful by-products of oxygen related reactions).
– Acting as a phytoestrogen (a compound which regulates estrogen levels in the body and can help prevent cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis (reduced bone mineral density) and negative menopausal symptoms).
– Preventing various types of cancer (particularly breast cancer and prostate cancer).
– Stimulating the formation of osteoblasts (cells which produce bone mass and reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis).
HOW MUCH DAIDZEIN DO YOU NEED?
There is currently no official recommended daily allowance (RDA) for daidzein as it is not considered essential to human health. However, some sources suggest that consuming between 50 milligrams (mg) and 100mg of isoflavones each day will allow you to realise the health benefits discussed above. Consuming up to 200mg of isoflavones per day is believed to be safe.
WHICH FOODS CONTAIN DAIDZEIN?
Daidzein is mainly found in beans and peas with soybeans and soybean based products being particularly good sources. The table below highlights some of the richest daidzein foods:
|FOOD||MG OF DAIDZEIN PER 100 GRAMS (G)|
|Soy Protein Isolate||33.59|
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF GETTING TOO MUCH DAIDZEIN?
The long term effects of daidzein overdose are not fully understood so no overdose symptoms have been established. However, some people are allergic to isoflavones and may experience the following symptoms when consuming high levels:
– Interference with mineral absorption.
– Interference with thyroid function.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF NOT GETTING ENOUGH DAIDZEIN?
Daidzein is not classed as an essential nutrient so there are no reported deficiency symptoms associated with its consumption.
Daidzein consumption is not high in the Western world. However, there are many reasons to start including this isoflavone as part of your diet. As discussed above, it acts as a powerful antioxidant, fights cancer, combats the negative effects of estrogen and much more. So if you want to enjoy the daidzein health benefits discussed in this article mix up your cooking and start including the foods listed above.
List of Phytochemicals in Food (Wikipedia)
What is Phytochemical? (Juicing For Health)
USDA-Iowa State University Database on the Isoflavone Content of Foods