A number of non-steroidal estrogenic substances are common naturally-occurring constituents of human foods. Concern over dietary estrogens has focused largely on the consumption of trace amounts of diethylstilbestrol (DES) from tissues of cattle fed the compound as a growth stimulant. Human exposure to naturally-occurring fungal and phytoestrogens in foods is, however, substantially larger than exposure to DES in animal tissues. Occurrence, potency and toxicity of the estrogenic isoflavones, coumestans and resorcylic acid lactones are reviewed.

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