Genistein – A herb potenator

In my last post I learnt about how some bacteria defends themselves against herbal and spices. In this post, I will look at one that is easily available as a supplement Genistein, an isoflavone and antioxidant. There are some risks from high dosages (see wikipedia)


Multidrug pump inhibitors uncover remarkable activity of plant antimicrobials.[2002] “It is possible that the apparent ineffectiveness of plant antimicrobials is largely due to the permeability barrier. ….The results show that the activities of the majority of plant antimicrobials were considerably greater against the gram-positive bacteria Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus megaterium and that disabling of the MDRs in gram-negative species leads to a striking increase in antimicrobial activity. Thus, the activity of rhein, the principal antimicrobial from rhubarb, was potentiated 100- to 2,000-fold (depending on the bacterial species) by disabling the MDRs.”
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  • More on multidrug pump inhibitors: Bacterial multidrug efflux pumps: Mechanisms, physiology and pharmacological exploitations [2014] “Another group of EPIs is called the quinoline derivatives, because of their structural similarity with quinolones [143].”  – interesting because Jadin’s protocol includes the concurrent use of quinolones with other antibiotics.
  • “In Gram-positive bacteria, EPIs against the NorA system in S. aureus has been intensively studied. A large number of both synthetic and natural compounds have been found to be EPIs against S. aureus NorA, especially those of natural origins such as genistein isolated from Lupinus argenteus, spinosan A isolated from Dalea spinosa and Tiliroside isolated from Herissantia tiubae”  Genistein is available as a supplement.

So what does PubMed say about it?

  • “After 6 and 12 months (of 54mg Genistein daily), our results indicate a strong correlation and a significant effect of genistein in reducing both Hot Flashes and visfatin in women with metabolic syndrome ” [2016]
  • “significant reductions in CFUs were found for S. aureus and B. anthracis when cultured in the presence of 100 muM genistein. …However, L. reuteri, E. coli, S. sonnei, and K. pneumoniae were not altered by in vitro culturing in the presence of 100 muM genistein… the use of genistein in combination with probiotics may augment the effectiveness of antimicrobial therapies currently used in the management of infections” [2006]
  • Genistein inhibits pro‑inflammatory cytokines in human mast cell activation through the inhibition of the ERK pathway.[2014] “Genistein significantly decreased IL-6 and IL-1β mRNA levels, as well as IL-6 production in PMA/A23187-induced mast cells activation. In addition, genistein inhibited the phosphorylation of ERK 1/2 in PMA/A23187-induced mast cell activation. However, phosphorylation of p38 was not altered. Thus, these findings indicate that genistein inhibited the inflammatory status of mast cells through inhibition of the ERK pathway.”

Bottom Line

There is a lot of articles on this, my main take away is that it appears to have no impact on families that are undergrowths in CFS and does impact overgrowth. It should help with mast-cell/histamine issues (for that subset), and may have additional benefits.

More research is needed, but this looks like a very promising supplement.