Phytoestrogen or Superfood? Exploring the Evidence During SCC Annual


Phytoestrogen controversies and misinformation versus in vitro and clinical efficacy evidence will be explored by Edwin Lephart, Ph.D., during his Frontiers of Science Award Lecture, sponsored by NuSkin. His talk will be featured at the Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SCC) Scientific Meeting and Technology Showcase, to be held Dec. 13-15, 2021, in New York City.

Lephart is a professor in the Department of Cell Biology, Physiology and The Neuroscience Center, at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He recently published on this topic in the International Journal of Molecular SciencesAccording to him, the real theme for his lecture is about perspective.

For example, "Viewing before and after photos show how COVID stay-at-home orders helped Los Angeles significantly reduce its notorious smog," he writes. "The before and after photos are obvious, clear-cut and easy to understand because the perspectives are distinct. However, when superfoods (a marketing term) are compared to the term phytoestrogen, superfoods have a positive connotation even though they contain phytoestrogens."

He added that conversely, phytoestrogens are alarming to the general public and have a negative connotation because they have been classified as endocrine disruptors—even though phytoestrogens are antioxidants that reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, have other health benefits, and are even in superfoods. "So, this understanding becomes a matter of perspective," he explains.

'When superfoods (a marketing term) are compared to the term phytoestrogen, superfoods have a positive connotation even though they contain phytoestrogens.'

To understand phytoestrogens, he will briefly cover the characteristics of: estrogens, estrogen receptors, estrogen-deficient skin, how perspective(s) get off track, phytoestrogen food sources and  misconceptions of phytoestrogens and food safety, in general, that influence person(s) away from what is true. Finally, he will present the characteristics of the phytoestrogens resveratrol and equol as active ingredients in cosmetics, with promising applications to improve skin health.

"Perspective is paramount in understanding the controversies associated with superfoods, phytoestrogens and endocrine-disruptors because they have both positive and negative connotations," he adds. "Everyone is exposed to and consumes these molecules every day regardless of age, gender or geographic location around the world, and how we understand this is a matter of perspective."

See related: European Regulatory Update; Greenwashing, Endocrine Disruptors and PFAS

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