The metabolic benefits of a genistein-rich diet in obese people


Researchers found that consuming a diet rich in the isoflavone compound genistein can benefit people with obesity and diabetes. The study, published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, found that the compound can improve thermogenesis and metabolism, as well as control corticosterone levels.

  • Obesity has been linked to reductions in thermogenesis.
  • The researchers created a model composed of five-week old ob/ob mice. These animals were fed either a genistein-rich (600 mg/kg) or genistein-free diet for four weeks.
  • The authors noted no change in the mice’s body weight, but they observed those fed with genistein-rich food to have had a marked increase in their food consumption during the third and fourth weeks. Moreover, the animals’ body temperature and plasma levels of triiodothyronine (T3) increased, suggesting increased thermogenesis.
  • The treatment also reduced the mice’s hypercorticosteronism.
  • The protein expression of renal 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 (11beta-HSD2) was decreased, but the levels of hepatic 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11beta-HSD1) remained unchanged.

These changes led the researchers to conclude that a genistein-rich diet has a positive effect on thermogenesis and the production of T3, as well as levels of corticosterone in obese mice.

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Journal Reference:

Rockwood S, Broderick TL, Al-Nakkash L. FEEDING OBESE DIABETIC MICE A GENISTEIN DIET INDUCES THERMOGENIC AND METABOLIC CHANGE. Journal of Medicinal Food. April 2018;21(4):332–339. DOI: 10.1089/jmf.2017.0084



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