Systematic review of the impact of genistein on diabetes-related outcomes

Rijul Jain, Charlotte Bolch, Layla Al-Nakkash, Karen L. Sweazea

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Diabetes is the eighth leading cause of death in the world and the prevalence is rising in low-income countries. Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide, especially for individuals with diabetes. Although medications exist to treat symptoms of diabetes, lack of availability and high costs may deter their use by individuals with low incomes as well as those in low-income nations. Therefore, this systematic review was performed to determine whether genistein, a phytoestrogen found in soy products, could provide therapeutic benefits for individuals with diabetes. We searched PubMed and SCOPUS using the terms “genistein,” “diabetes,” and “glucose” and identified 33 peer-reviewed articles that met our inclusion criteria. In general, preclinical studies demonstrated that genistein decreases body weight and circulating glucose and triglycerides concentrations, whereas increasing insulin levels and insulin sensitivity. Genistein also delayed the onset of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In contrast, clinical studies utilizing genistein generally reported no significant relationship between genistein and body mass, circulating glucose, glycated hemoglobin (A1C) concentrations, or onset of type 1 diabetes. However, genistein was found to improve insulin sensitivity and serum triglyceride concentrations and delayed the onset of type 2 diabetes. In summary, preclinical and clinical studies suggest that genistein may help delay the onset of type 2 diabetes and improve several symptoms associated with the disease. Although additional research is required to confirm these findings, the results highlighted in this review provide some evidence that genistein may offer a natural approach to mitigating some of the complications associated with diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R279-R288
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022


  • diabetes
  • genistein
  • glucose
  • insulin
  • review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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