Isoflavones are present in soybeans and its products in concentrations up to 300 mg/100 g, have estrogenic and antiestrogenic properties, and may be protective against hormone-related cancers. The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to investigate the association between urinary isoflavone excretion and self-reported soy intake. A total of 102 women of Caucasian, Native Hawaiian, Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino ancestry completed a dietary questionnaire for soy products consumed during the last year and during the 24-h period before urine collection. Overnight urine samples were analyzed for coumestrol and the soy isoflavones genistein, daidzein, and glycitein and their main human metabolites by reverse-phase high-pressure liquid chromatography. Soy protein and isoflavone intake (predominantly from tofu) were estimated using published nutritional databases. Wilcoxon's rank-sum test scores and Spearman rank correlation coefficients were computed. Japanese women excreted more daidzein, genistein, and glycitein than did Caucasian women, whereas Caucasian women excreted slightly more coumestrol. Soy intake differed significantly among ethnic groups. Dietary soy protein and isoflavone intakes during the previous 24 h were positively related to urinary isoflavone excretion [rs = 0.61 (P < 0.0001) and 0.62 (P < 0.0001), respectively]. Urinary excretion of isoflavones was also related to annual dietary soy protein and isoflavone intake [rs = 0.32 (P < 0.0012) and 0.31 (P < 0.0016), respectively]. The strong correlation between urinary isoflavone excretion and self-reported soy intake validates the dietary history questionnaire that is now used in a study exploring dietary risk factors for breast cancer.

This content is only available via PDF.