What is daidzein?

Daidzein is a phytoestrogen, meaning it is a plant-derived compound with weak estrogenic activity. Phytoestrogens are found in a variety of plants, including soybeans and other legumes, flaxseeds, and some fruits and vegetables. In general, phytoestrogens have much weaker estrogenic effects than the body’s own naturally produced estrogen.

Daidzein is the second most abundant phytoestrogen in soybeans after genistein. It is also found in other legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts.

Soybeans and products made from them are the major dietary sources of daidzein.

Daidzein

Health Benefits

Daidzein has been studied for a variety of potential health benefits.

Heart Health

Daidzein may help protect against heart disease by reducing cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

Cancer Prevention

Studies in both animals and test tubes suggest that daidzein may help protect against cancer, especially breast cancer.

Bone Health

Daidzein may help prevent osteoporosis by stimulating new bone growth and protecting existing bone (10, 11).

Inflammation

Daidzein has anti-inflammatory effects and may help reduce the risk of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis (12).

Brain Health

Daidzein may improve brain function and protect against age-related cognitive decline (13, 14).

Side Effects and Safety Concerns

Daidzein is generally considered safe. However, large amounts may cause bloating, gas, and nausea (15).

Due to its estrogen-like effects, daidzein should be used with caution by people with hormone-sensitive conditions, such as breast cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid taking daidzein supplements.

Dosage and Preparation

Daidzein supplements are not widely available. When taken in supplement form, the recommended dosage of daidzein is 50–200 mg per day.

It’s also possible to get daidzein by consuming soy foods. For example, one cup (165 grams) of cooked soybeans provides about 40 mg of daidzein.

To learn more about the potential health benefits of daidzein and other phytoestrogens, check out this article on the top 10 phytoestrogen-rich foods.

Interactions

Daidzein may interact with certain medications. For example, it may increase the effects of estrogen therapy and blood-thinning medications .

If you take any medications, talk to your doctor before taking daidzein supplements.

Pharmacokinetics

Daidzein is rapidly absorbed from the gut and metabolized in the liver.

It has a half-life of about 8 hours and is excreted in the urine.

Long-term effects

There is currently no data on the long-term effects of daidzein supplementation in humans. More research is needed in this area.

Alternatives to Daidzein

If you’re interested in taking daidzein for its potential health benefits, there are several ways to get it.

Dietary Sources

The best way to get daidzein is through your diet. Soybeans and soy-based products are the major dietary sources of daidzein. Other good sources include chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts.

To increase your intake of daidzein, try adding soy-based foods to your diet, such as tofu, tempeh, edamame, soy milk, and soy nuts. You can also take a supplement that contains soy protein or isolated soybean extract standardized for daidzein content.

Research

Daidzein is being studied for a variety of potential health benefits. However, more research is needed to understand the effects of daidzein on human health.

Overdosage

There is no information on daidzein overdose in humans. However, large amounts may cause bloating, gas, and nausea.

If you think you have taken too much daidzein, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately.