Effects of natural products and nutraceuticals on steroid hormone-regulated gene expression


Rosenberg Zand RS, Jenkins DJ, Diamandis EP




Clin Chim Acta


Background: There is an increasing trend in the use of complementary and alternative therapies to treat or prevent hormonally dependent pathologies. Methods determined whether several of these natural products and nutraceuticals, commonly taken for hormone-related effects, possess steroid hormone activity. The agonist and antagonist estrogenic, androgenic, and progestational activities of 20 natural products and nutraceuticals were assessed using an in vitro tissue culture indicator system. Two steroid-regulated proteins (pS2 and prostate-specific antigen [PSA]) were quantified, using ELISA-type immunoassays, as markers of agonist and antagonist activity. Results: Four of the products tested, two isoflavone preparations, Promensil and Estro-Logic, chamomile, and grapeseed extracts, were found to have weak estrogenic agonist activity, with the latter two also demonstrating weak progestational activity. Several of the products tested exhibited antagonistic (blocking) activity, including antiestrogenic activity by Prostate-Ease, wild yam root, and dong quai, and antiandrogenic activity by dong quai, Promensil, and rosehips. Conclusions: Several of these natural products demonstrate weak steroid hormone activity.