Sobenin IA, Myasoedova VA, Orekhov AN.
Curr Pharm Des. 2015 Nov 12. [Epub ahead of print]
Cardiovascular diseases remain the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among postmenopausal women in western societies. There are still no specific and highly efficient methods of preservation of women's vascular health in modern preventive medicine. For many years physicians have assumed that hormone replacement therapy prevents the development of atherosclerosis in menopausal women. However, the results of the largest international trials involving thousands of women have completely destroyed this hope. The modern perspective for the development of effective and safe drugs to enhance the quality of life and to prevent atherosclerosis progression in postmenopausal women may be the use of phytoestrogens, the substances of plant origin possessing estrogen-like effects, and possibly providing anti-atherosclerotic and anti-climacteric action. Phytoestrogens are often considered as a possible alternative to hormone replacement therapy, since they are believed to alleviate some symptoms of menopause. However, until now there is no exact evidence to consider phytoestrogens as the substances that protect women from atherosclerosis. It should be noted that the data from clinical studies with inconsistent results are mainly inconsistent per se, as most of the studies have serious limitations due to the study design and the participants' compliance. Nevertheless, there is a substantial evidence that phytoestrogens have the potential to address several conditions and diseases associated with the menopausal transition. Phytoestrogens, at least, can potentially reduce atherosclerosis and atherosclerosis-related diseases through multiple mechanisms, by regulating serum lipid metabolism, arterial vessels, cytokine levels, and coagulation/fibrinolysis system. However, a skepticism exists concerning the true potential of phytoestrogens to beneficially modify these processes. An analysis of findings from supplementing the diet with phytoestrogens has failed, in general, to confirm them as the agents responsible for beneficial cardiovascular effects. Fortunalely, now there is a growing interest to the use of phytoestrogens for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women. Clinical and epidemiologic data indicate that phytoestrogens possess anti-atherosclerotic effects and may be used to prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases, and that adding phytoestrogens to the diet can contribute to the health of postmenopausal women. This review discusses the effects of phytoestrogens possibly beneficial for cardiovascular health, and how these effects could retard the progression of atherosclerosis, as well as the areas that need further investigation.