Impact of Natural and Novel Synthetic Estrogens on Metabolic Health

BEsHealth maintenance, life quality, and resilience of postmenopausal women remain major issues because, due to advancements in healthcare, by 2030 more than 25% of the US population will be over 60, and most will be women. Epidemiological studies suggest that the combination of loss of estrogens after menopause, western diet, and sedentary life style increases the incidence of obesity and associated metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease, and may alter breast cancer progression. Incidence of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer is even higher in rural areas and all of the aforementioned diseases were identified as rural health priorities by both national and state experts.

Estrogens are necessary for the development and proper functioning of reproductive tissues. In addition, they have many health promoting, beneficial effects in diverse non-reproductive target tissues such as bone, liver, adipose, skeletal muscle, and vasculature. Because of the stimulatory effects on reproductive tissues; estrogens produced by body can drive pathological processes such as breast and uterine cancers. Botanical estrogen dietary supplements (BEDS) from soy and other plants are used by many women with the assumption that because these products are “natural”, they are inherently safe and will promote health and resiliency. Therefore, our aim in Madak-Erdogan Laboratory is:

(a) to evaluate the tissue-selective activities of BEDS taken by postmenopausal women and to determine how these might affect their health
(b) to determine whether BEDS and dietary factors impact quality of life and resilience to obesity and CVD
(c) to find novel estrogens that can maintain health of non-reproductive tissues without stimulating reproductive tissues.