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Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1995 Jan;208(1):98-102.

The phytoestrogen congeners of alcoholic beverages: current status.

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Women's Health Research Program, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma City 73104.


The idea that alcoholic beverages might contain biologically active phytoestrogenic congeners stemmed from findings of overt feminization observed in alcoholic men with alcohol-induced cirrhosis. Specifically, in addition to being hypogonadal, these chronically alcohol-abusing men with cirrhosis frequently manifest gynecomastia, palmar erythema, spider angiomata, and a female escutcheon. These physical signs of exposure to active estrogen occur in the presence of normal or only minimally elevated levels of endogenous steroid estrogens. Because levels of circulating steroid hormones failed to provide a satisfactory explanation for the feminization observed, alternate explanations were considered. If the estrogenization observed was not entirely a function of tissue expose to steroid estrogens produced endogenously, then perhaps tissues were being exposed to exogenous estrogenic substances from dietary sources. Given the degree of alcohol abuse in the population in which hypotheses for feminization were being formed, alcoholic beverages became a prime candidate as a dietary source of exogenous estrogenic substances.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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