Bottom Line: Haelan has not been shown to treat or prevent cancer.
Haelan is a dietary supplement obtained by fermentation of soybeans. It contains compounds known as isoflavones that act like estrogen in the body and also have antioxidant activity. Laboratory studies have shown that these compounds slow down the growth of tumor cells. But recent studies indicate that isoflavones may also promote certain breast cancers.
Patients with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers should avoid Haelan.
Haelan is a nutritional supplement derived by fermentation of soybeans. It is thought to have immunostimulatory effects and is being promoted to treat cancer, inflammation, AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. Supporters claim that fermentation increases the bioavailability of isoflavones thereby potentiating their effects (1).
Several studies have shown that the isoflavones, genistein and daidzein, have antioxidant activity (2). They also exhibit antitumor effects in breast cancer, prostate cancer, sarcoma, and retinoblastoma cell lines (3)(4). However, some studies suggest that genistein has an antagonistic effect on tamoxifen and may actually promote the growth of tumor cells (5)(6).
No data are available on Haelan’s antitumor effects in humans.
Adverse effects have not been reported with use of Haelan.
The exact mechanism of Haelan’s effects is unclear. Some studies have shown that isoflavones genistein and daidzein have antioxidant activity (2). They also exhibit antiproliferative effects in multiple cell lines including breast cancer, prostate cancer, neuroblastoma, sarcoma and retinoblastoma (3)(4). However, genistein also has an antagonistic effect on tamoxifen used to treat breast cancer (5)(6).