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In soy plants, isoflavones serve a variety of functions, playing a significant role in the coloration of the beans produced, protection against bacterial and fungal infections, and cell regulation. Similarly, when consumed by humans, isoflavones and their derivatives, such as genistein, are believed to produce several different health benefits in addition to providing nutritional value. Though studies are ongoing, research indicates that these health benefits are fourfold, due to the activity of the substances as estrogens and antiestrogens, as cancer-enzyme inhibitors, as antioxidants, and as immune system enhancers.

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