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Phytochemical estrogen mimics from dietary herbal supplements (2016-03-22)

Using a molecular docking approach researchers identified potential estrogen mimics or anti-estrogens in phytochemicals found in popular dietary herbal supplements.
In this study, 568 phytochemicals found in 17 of the most popular herbal supplements sold in the United States were built and docked with two isoforms of the estrogen receptor, ERα and ERβ (a total of 27 different protein crystal structures).

The docking results revealed:

6 strongly docking compounds in Echinacea,
3 from milk thistle (Silybum marianum),
3 from Gingko biloba,
1 from Sambucus nigra,
0 from maca (Lepidium meyenii),
5 from chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus),
2 from fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum),
2 from Rhodiola rosea.

Notably, of the most popular herbal supplements for women, there were numerous compounds that docked strongly with the estrogen receptor:

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) had a total of 26 compounds strongly docking to the estrogen receptor,
15 with wild yam (Dioscorea villosa),
11 from black cohosh (Actaea racemosa),
8 from muira puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides or P. uncinatum),
8 from red clover (Trifolium pratense),
3 from damiana (Turnera aphrodisiaca or T. diffusa),
3 from dong quai (Angelica sinensis).

Of possible concern were the compounds from menís herbal supplements that exhibited strong docking to the estrogen receptor:

Gingko biloba had 3 compounds,
gotu kola (Centella asiatica) had 2,
muira puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides or P. uncinatum) had 8, and Tribulus terrestris had 6 compounds.

This molecular docking study has revealed that almost all popular herbal supplements contain phytochemical components that may bind to the human estrogen receptor and exhibit selective estrogen receptor modulation.
As such, these herbal supplements may cause unwanted side effects related to estrogenic activity.
For example, estrogenic agents may be effective and potent growth stimulators of estrogen-receptor positive tumors and pose a hazard to patients with breast cancer who have ER-positive tumors and who are being treated with antiestrogens.

For more information
A molecular docking study of phytochemical estrogen mimics from dietary herbal supplements
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