Isoflavone is a class of polyphenolic compounds derived from the Fabaceae family with potential phytoestrogenic, cholesterol-reducing, chemotherapeutic and antioxidant activity. In isoflavones the phenyl group on the benzopyran ring is in position 3 relative to the oxygen of the ring. Most isoflavones for human consumption and that are currently studied are derived from soy beans.
Isoflavone is a soy phytoestrogen and a biologically active component of several agriculturally important legumes such as soy, peanut, green peas, chick peas and alfalfa. Soybean is an exceptionally rich source of dietary isoflavones, where the average isoflavone content is 1-2 mg/gram. The main soy isoflavones are mostly present in glycosylated forms and include [DB01645], [DB13182], and glycitein, which accounts for approximately 50%, 40%, and 10%, respectively, of the total soybean isoflavone content. The clinical benefits of soy proteins have been studied and demonstrated for many years, with some evidence of soy products associated with a reduced incidences of coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, type II diabetes mellitus, and breast and prostate cancer. While existing data are consistent or inadequate in supporting most of the suggested health benefits of consuming soy proteins and isoflavones, the trials investigating isoflavone as a potential treatment for atrophy, menopause, and postmenopausal symptoms are ongoing. Isoflavone is found as one of constituents in oral over-the-counter dietary supplements indicated for improved bone mass density and body fat regulation.