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Soya products contain high levels of the isoflavones genistein and daidzein, and their glucosides, and may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and cancer. The present cross-sectional study investigated plasma concentrations of daidzein and genistein and their correlations with dietary soya consumption in four groups of twenty premenopausal British women. The women were selected from the Oxford arm of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition using data from food-frequency questionnaires (FFQ) to guarantee a wide variation in soya consumption, and to investigate the utility of the question related to soya milk consumption compared with the utility of the question related to other soya foods. Dietary intakes of isoflavones were additionally assessed by 7 d food diaries. Plasma concentrations of daidzein and genistein were measured by time-resolved fluoroimmunoassay. Geometric mean plasma concentrations (nmol/l) were for the four groups, which were based on increasing soya intake, 4.9, 8.4, 39.2 and 132 for daidzein and 14.3, 16.5, 119 and 378 for genistein. The Spearman correlation coefficients for plasma isoflavone concentrations with estimated dietary intakes were between 0.66 and 0.80 for the diary-based estimates and between 0.24 and 0.74 for the FFQ-based estimates. The correlations for soya milk intakes were clearly higher than the correlations for intakes of other soya foods. We conclude that both the food diary and the FFQ estimate dietary soya isoflavone intakes sufficiently well to use them in epidemiological studies, and that plasma concentrations of daidzein and genistein in Western women who consumed soya products as a part of their regular diet were close to those in Asian populations.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Nutr

Publication Date





415 - 421


Adult, Biomarkers, Cross-Sectional Studies, Diet, Diet Records, Female, Fluoroimmunoassay, Genistein, Humans, Isoflavones, Nutrition Surveys, Reproducibility of Results, Soybeans, Surveys and Questionnaires