Phytoestrogens & Cannabis: Debunking the Myth Of “Feminization” and Breast Cancer

Discussion in 'Fitness And Well-Being' started by cannetix Inc, Oct 5, 2017.

    cannetix Inc

    cannetix Inc Well-Known Member

    Phytoestrogens & Cannabis: Debunking the Myth Of “Feminization” and Breast Cancer (PART ONE)


    Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor and this is not intended to be taken as medical advice (Obviously)


    The myth that phytoestrogens, particularly in regard to Cannabis, is particularly common amongst (predominantly male) Cannabis users who take an interest in health & fitness, This myth is one that likely stemmed from a simple confusion between two different types of molecules. It's very likely that the bad rap obtained by phytoestrogens is due to their association with synthetic “Endocrine disruptors” or “Endocrine inhibitors” such as Bisphenol-A (BPA), the infamous plasticizing agent that leaches from many petroleum-based plastic products.

    The problem with this assumption is that there are two primary differences between these harmful endocrine disrupting compounds and naturally occurring “phytoestrogens”;

    1) Endocrine disrupting chemicals such as BPA have a much higher affinity for their target receptors which means they bind to receptors at a much greater rate and exhibit a much greater effect on endocrine activity. Phytoestrogens are only weak estrogen-like substances with a relatively low affinity for their target receptors. Natural human Estrogens such as Estradiol (as well as endocrine disrupting compounds such as BPA) will always compete with phytoestrogens to bind with receptor sites, and the compound(s) with higher affinity will always “win”.

    2) The key issue associated with many endocrine disrupting compounds is their persistence in the environment and potential for bioaccumulation. Phytoestrogens, on the other hand, tend to be easily metabolized and their metabolic byproducts easily excreted from the body. While BPA, the most common and well known endocrine disruptor does not bioaccumulate, it is highly persistent in the environment due to its ability to resist many forms of degradation including biodegradation, oxidative degradation, and photodegradation.

    Studies on the health effects of naturally occurring phytoestrogens are rather extensive and quite conclusive in regards to the fact that Phytoestrogens do not cause breast cancer, and many suggest they may even have protective effects. When it comes to the so-called “feminization” of males, which primarily refers to the development of male breasts (Gynecomastia), phytoestrogens have also not been identified as a cause. A widely accepted hypothesis for the development of Gynecomastia is the increased Aromatase activity in adipose tissue. Aromatase is an enzyme produced by adipose tissue response for the conversion of Testosterone to Estradiol (An Estrogen). With the prevalence of obesity in North American society, the answer to growing Gynecomastia rates only seems logical. Whether or not cannabinoids themselves play any role in modifying lipid storage pathways has not been determined but it is a possibility and is a current topic of research.

    One of the most important problems with the fear-mongering that exists over the presence of phytoestrogens in Cannabis is that these compounds are very common throughout the plant kingdom. Phytoestrogens, as well as mycoestrogens produced by molds, mildews, etc.) are found in relatively significant quantities in many of the worlds food crops. If phytoestrogens do pose any risk to human health, which does not seem likely at this point, Cannabis itself is no culprit. Phytoestrogens are not specific to the cannabis species.

    It is important to note that the majority of dietary phytoestrogens are compounds called lignans. Lignans are not volatile compounds and thus are not vaporized by the high temperatures of smoking or vaporizing. Lignans are also not readily flammable. Instead, when exposed to high temperatures these compounds undergo a process called pyrolysis, a reaction similar to oxidative combustion that forms a number of byproducts. Simply speaking, when you smoke or vaporize Cannabis, the majority (if not all) of the phytoestrogens are destroyed. Any phytoestrogens that are absorbed likely have no substantial effect and are rapidly metabolized and excreted.

    If you are a Cannabis user concerned about the effect phytoestrogens may have on your fitness “gains”, there are probably far more important and far productive things you could be focusing on. Phytoestrogens/Mycoestrogens are virtually impossible to avoid, and their consumption is a natural consequence of the food chain. Synthetic endocrine disrupting compounds and hormones used in livestock production have much greater potential to interfere with the endocrine system and are something that can actually reasonably be avoided.

    ________________________________________________________________________________________ A review of the toxicology of Endocrine disrupting chemicals Effect of prenatal exposure to Bisphenol-A, a common plasticizing agent Molecular Mechanisms of Action of BPA and Role of Binding Affinity “Binding affinity” or Dissociation Constant explained The Bioaccumulation and occurrence of endocrine disrupting chemicals Metabolism & Excretion of Phytoestrogens in Human Beings relative low binding affinity of phytoestrogens Phytoestrogens & Breast Cancer An examination of the clinical evidence of feminization in men as the result of soy isoflavone consumption and estrogenic effects Overexpression of aromatase in males causing Gynecomastia Effect of a high-fat diet on Aromatase activity and Hormonal balance Aromatase Mycoestrogens Estimated dietary phytoestrogen intake and major food sources Lignan Pyrolysis Products Risk assessment of hormones and antibiotic residues in meat


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