The key difference between phytoestrogens and xenoestrogens is that phytoestrogens are chemicals present in plants, while xenoestrogens are synthetic industrial chemicals.
Phytoestrogens and Xenoestrogens are two foreign estrogens that are produced out of the human body. They have been shown to exert estrogen-like activity. Estrogens are sex hormones in women. They are a group of hormones that play a vital role in the normal sexual and reproductive development of women. The main organs that produce estrogens in women are the ovaries, although adrenal glands and fat cells also make a small amount of this hormone.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What are Phytoestrogens
3. What are Xenoestrogens
4. Similarities – Phytoestrogens and Xenoestrogens
5. Phytoestrogens vs Xenoestrogens in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Phytoestrogens vs Xenoestrogens
What are Phytoestrogens?
Phytoestrogens are chemicals present in plants and show estrogen-like activity. They are naturally occurring. If people eat fruits, vegetables, legumes, and certain types of grains, they probably get some amount of phytoestrogens from the diet. When people eat phytoestrogens, the body may respond as if their own estrogen were present. A plant-based diet like soy is very rich in natural phytoestrogens in healthy amounts. Phytoestrogens could be used as a type of natural hormone replacement therapy, but only to a limited extent. A good example is phytoestrogens supplements. The other potential benefits of phytoestrogens include relief from hot flashes, osteoporosis prevention in women, menstrual relief, and acne treatment.
In recent years, research has shown synthetic estrogens to have negative side effects. Some of them are increased risks for obesity, cancer, reproductive disorders, and cardiovascular diseases. However, phytoestrogens have many potential benefits to health, such as reducing blood pressure, improving blood sugar control, reducing the risk of prostate cancer, lower cholesterol, and less inflammation. Furthermore, the adverse effects include disrupting hormone balance, increasing breast cancer risk, and disrupting thyroid function (hypothyroidism).
What are Xenoestrogens?
Xenoestrogens are synthetic industrial chemicals that have estrogen-like activity. They are a type of xenohormone that imitates estrogen. Synthetic xenoestrogens include some widely used compounds such as PCBs, BPA, and phthalates. They have estrogen-like effects on a living organism even though they are chemically different from estrogenic substances internally produced by the endocrine system in the human body.
Synthetic xenoestrogens are used to cross-link chemicals in the production of polycarbonate plastics. They are also used to produce herbicides, insecticides, and pesticides and function as insulating fluids, coolants, and anabolic growth promoters for live stocks. Furthermore, synthetics xenoestrogens are also included in pharmaceuticals (reduce hot flashes and vaginal dryness), UV filters, food preservatives, and personal care products. However, they have several adverse effects, including increasing the risk of breast, prostate, and testicular cancer, obesity, infertility, endometriosis, early onset puberty, miscarriages, and diabetes. There are guidelines to minimize personal exposure to xenoestrogens, such as avoiding foods, plastics, household products health and beauty products that contain xenoestrogens.
What are the Similarities Between Phytoestrogens and Xenoestrogens?
- Phytoestrogens and Xenoestrogens are two foreign estrogens that are produced out of the human body.
- They have been shown to exert estrogen-like activity.
- Both compounds have wide applications as pharmaceuticals.
- Both compounds may have adverse effects.
What is the Difference Between Phytoestrogens and Xenoestrogens?
Phytoestrogens are chemicals present in plants, while xenoestrogens are synthetic industrial chemicals. Thus, this is the key difference between phytoestrogens and xenoestrogens. Examples of phytoestrogens include lignans, isoflavones, resveratrol, and quercetin, whereas examples of xenoestrogens estrogens include PCBs, BPA, endosulfan, dioxin, DDT, atrazine, and phthalates.
The below infographic presents the differences between phytoestrogens and xenoestrogens in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – Phytoestrogens vs Xenoestrogens
Estrogen is a category of sex hormones in women. It is responsible for the development and regulation of the female reproductive system and secondary sex characteristics. Phytoestrogens and Xenoestrogens are two foreign estrogens that are produced out of the human body. Phytoestrogens are chemicals present in plants and have estrogen-like activity, while xenoestrogens are synthetic industrial chemicals that show estrogen-like activity. So, this summarizes the difference between phytoestrogens and xenoestrogens.