Does apigenin affect hormone health?

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Apigenin may also be able to exert positive physiologic responses by reducing cortisol, the stress hormone. When human adrenocortical cells (in vitro) were exposed to a range of 12.5–100 μM flavonoid mixtures that included apigenin as a component, cortisol production decreased by up to 47.3% compared to control cells.[1][2]

In mice, apigenin extracted from the plant Cephalotaxus sinensis of the Plum Yew family showed some anti-diabetic properties by increasing physiologic response to insulin.[3] These results have not yet been replicated in humans, though in a study that gave participants a black pepper beverage that contained apigenin and a wheat bread challenge meal, blood glucose and insulin were no different from the control beverage group.[4]

Reproductive hormones such as testosterone and estrogen may also be affected by apigenin. In preclinical studies, apigenin modified enzyme receptors and activity in a way that suggests it could potentially affect testosterone activity, even at relatively low (5–10 μM) amounts.[5][6]

At 20 μM, breast cancer cells exposed to apigenin for 72 hours showed inhibited proliferation through control of estrogen receptors.[7] Similarly, when ovarian cells were exposed to apigenin (100 nM for 48 hours) researchers observed an inhibition of aromatase activity, which is thought to be a possible mechanism in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer.[8] It is still unclear, however, how these effects would translate into an oral dose for human consumption.

1.^Ohno S, Shinoda S, Toyoshima S, Nakazawa H, Makino T, Nakajin SEffects of flavonoid phytochemicals on cortisol production and on activities of steroidogenic enzymes in human adrenocortical H295R cells.J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol.(2002-Mar)
3.^Li W, Dai RJ, Yu YH, Li L, Wu CM, Luan WW, Meng WW, Zhang XS, Deng YLAntihyperglycemic effect of Cephalotaxus sinensis leaves and GLUT-4 translocation facilitating activity of its flavonoid constituents.Biol Pharm Bull.(2007-Jun)
5.^Le Bail JC, Laroche T, Marre-Fournier F, Habrioux GAromatase and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase inhibition by flavonoids.Cancer Lett.(1998-Nov-13)
6.^Wei Li, Akhilesh K Pandey, Xiangling Yin, Jau-Jiin Chen, Douglas M Stocco, Paula Grammas, Xingjia WangEffects of apigenin on steroidogenesis and steroidogenic acute regulatory gene expression in mouse Leydig cellsJ Nutr Biochem.(2011 Mar)
7.^Mak P, Leung YK, Tang WY, Harwood C, Ho SMApigenin suppresses cancer cell growth through ERbeta.Neoplasia.(2006-Nov)