Reliable and economical quantification of micronutrients in diets and human is a critical component of successful epidemiological studies to establish relationships between dietary constituents and chronic disease. Legumes are one of the major dietary components consumed by populations worldwide. Consumption of legumes is thought to play a major role in lowering breast and prostate cancer risk. In this study, a simplified method that uses solid-phase extraction and gas chromatography was developed to measure isoflavones at levels down to 10 micrograms/5ml. With the use of this method, 12.5 g miso (a soybean paste), 12 ounces Isomil, and 12 ounces soymilk had daidzin/daidzein levels of 2, 5, and 12.4 mg, respectively, and genistin/genistein levels of 3, 6.5, and 13.7 mg, respectively. In these products, most of the isoflavones were present as glucosides. With the same method, urinary levels of isoflavones in six 15-17-year-old subjects were determined after soymilk ingestion. Each subject was placed on unrestricted nonsoya diets, and three 12-ounce portions of soymilk were given at 12-h intervals. Males excreted 15.02 +/- 2.74 (SD) mg of daidzein glucuronides/sulfates [mean recovery, 40.4 +/- 7.4% (SD)] by 24 h after the third soymilk ingestion, whereas females excreted 25.56 +/- 5.10 mg (68.7 +/- 13.7%) of daidzein conjugates, which was more than males (P = 0.02). Males and females excreted 7.73 +/- 1.95 mg and 9.11 +/- 0.84 mg of genistein glucuronides/sulfates (20% recovery of genistin intake), respectively, in the urine. Most of the isoflavones were excreted within 24 h after ingestion.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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