Most women are concerned about growing older. And many cultures teach women to expect deterioration and decline with advancing age. This doesn’t have to be the case, given that it is possible to grow older without losing vitality, function, and energy. An individual woman’s experience will depend on her lifestyle, her beliefs, and her life circumstances. Some women make all the hormones they need for many years even after menopause. But most do best with some kind of support.
For the average woman, the monthly menstrual cycle ends around 50 ( menopause is defined as the final menstrual period). Menopause is preceded by perimenopause which lasts anywhere from 6 – 12 years and is often associated with symptoms that are referred to as “menopausal.” Both perimenopause and years following menopause are characterized by a decrease in estrogen. Estrogen helps to control the production of free radicals. Free radicals cause cellular damage. Moreover the lack of estrogen is associated with both psychological and physiological changes.
Physiological changes may include hot flushes, fatigue, and poor quality sleep. Many women also experience more severe conditions such as bone loss, balding, and degeneration of genital tissues.
When the menstrual cycle ends, the body decreases its production of estrogen and progesterone. Its production of testosterone can decrease, increase for a time, or stay the same. Though ovaries are capable of producing low levels of sex hormones after menopause, many women do best with additional support.
Consequently, menopausal women and post-menopausal women need something to replace the loss of natural estrogen. Chemical substitutes will help to alleviate both the psychological and physiological changes menopausal women and post-menopausal women will probably experience. However, chemical therapies must be conducted under a physician’s close guidance. A better and safer solution is to use Pueraria mirifica a natural estrogen found in nature.
Mechanism of Action
As stated earlier, Pueraria mirifica contains phytoestrogens (Daidzin, Genistin, Daidzein, and Miroestrol etc.) which can supplement estrogen insufficiency in the body. The human body contains various types of receptors; one type of receptor is the estrogen receptor which is found on cells throughout the body including the genital tract and even the brain. Estrogen receptors stimulate estrogenic activity and send the respective signals throughout the human body. Phytoestrogens exert estrogenic effects on tissue that are similar to but distinct from those of mammalian estrogens.
Phytoestrogens (meaning plant-estrogens), are plant sterols which have a structure that is different from mammalian estrogens, thus creating different effects. They are also known as adaptogens, meaning that they nourish and tonify estrogen-sensitive tissue. Phytoestrogens combine with the Beta estrogen receptor and have effects similar to those of SERMS (selective estrogen receptor modulators.) Mammalian estrogens combine with the alpha estrogen receptor and can increase cellular growth. This doesn’t happen with phytoestrogens. There are a number of different types of phytoestrogens in various plants, however the greatest concentration of phytoestrogen activity occurs in legumes and beans such as soybeans.
Phytoestrogens in Pueraria mirifica can supplement human estrogens. Evidence from several independent studies demonstrates that phytoestrogens can produce estrogenic effects in menopausal women. Various studies have shown that women in Asian countries (with high phytoestrogen intakes, especially soybeans) have a lower frequency of hot flushes when compared to women in Western countries (with lower phytoestrogen intakes.)
Moreover, the effects of phytoestrogens on menopausal women have been confirmed in many studies. For example, in one epidemiologic study, 70-80% of menopausal women living in Europe experienced hot flushes, compared to only 57% in Malaysia, 18% in China and 14% in Singapore. In another study, menopausal women were given an increase in phytoestrogen intake and within 12 weeks the majority of subjects experienced a reduction in hot flushes, and other menopausal symptoms.
phytoestrogen consumption contributes to cardiovascular health
Secondly, there is evidence that phytoestrogen consumption contributes to lower risks of cardiovascular disease and in fact may even prevent cardiovascular related diseases. In one study, for example, it was shown that consuming the phytoestrogens in soybeans decreased the level of LDL cholesterol and increased the level of HDL cholesterol in the blood, therefore reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, subjects who consumed soy at least three times daily, reported a decrease in the total level of cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
When Pueraria mirifica is taken, its potent phytoestrogens circulate throughout the body via the circulatory system and get picked up by the estrogens receptors on the surface of brain , blood vessels, bone, breast, and ovarian cells. The ensuing estrogenic activity helps to restore normal function to the body which may have slowed down due to lack of estrogen.
Toxicity and Contraindications
The phytoestrogens found in Pueraria mirifica act as a substitute for the body’s estrogen. Phytoestrogens are natural, safe, and non-carcinogenic.
Thailand’s Ministry of Health, and Department of Medical Science, has tested the safety and toxicity of Pueraria mirifica in a study published on 23 September 1999. Here are the results.
The sub-chronic toxicity study of Pueraria mirifica root prepared in the form of a suspension in water was performed on male and female Wistar Rats. The mice were given doses of 10, 100, and 1000 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day continuously for a period of ninety days. The results follow.
- In comparison to the control group that were given water, mice that were given doses of 10 mg/kg/day did not reveal any abnormality in blood cells, did not cause any chemical imbalance in its blood stream nor did it cause any irregularities in its internal sexual organs.
- Mice that were given doses of 100 mg/kg/day experienced stagnation in its growth rate, and a reduction in appetite. However, there is no sign of abnormality in blood cells except a reduction in protein count. As for the female mice, an increase in weight of its ovaries was observed, but the cells of the ovaries showed no irregularities.
- Mice that were given doses of 1000 mg/kg/day also experienced stagnation in its growth rate, and a reduction in appetite. A reduction in red blood cells count was reported among both male and female mice, whereas a reduction in white blood cells count was reported in the male mice. As for the female mice, an increase in weight of its ovaries was observed, however the cells of the ovaries showed no irregularities, when compared to the control group.
Current research has universally demonstrated that up to 10mg / Kgs is considered safe for humans.
There are independent studies done by other researchers claiming that dosage higher than 1.0 mg/kg/day is recommended. Such claims need to be verified and approved by local authorities.
Drugs used to treat illness and diseases are called Pharmaceuticals. Phytochemicals in plants having potential health benefits are called Nutriceuticals. Pueraria mirifica contains a variety of beneficial Phytochemicals, which possess very unique properties, which are not found in any other known plants in the world and therefore, it is considered a safer nutriceutical practice.