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J Nutr. 2000 Jul;130(7):1695-9.

Soy isoflavone aglycones are absorbed faster and in higher amounts than their glucosides in humans.

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Research and Development Division, Kikkoman Corporation, Chiba, Japan.


Isoflavones are contained in soybean or soy foods in two chemical forms, i.e., aglycones and glucosides. We investigated the difference in the absorption of soy isoflavone aglycones and glucosides in humans. After a single, low dose intake (0.11 mmol), the highest isoflavone concentrations in plasma were reached 2 and 4 h after ingestion of aglycones and glucosides, respectively; subjects were four men (41 y old) and four women (45 y old). The highest plasma concentration after aglycone intake was more than two times greater than that after glucoside ingestion. In a similar manner, we then compared the plasma isoflavone concentration profiles after intake of a single, high dose of isoflavones (1.7 mmol) in eight subjects (four men, 40 y old; four women, 47 y old) and found the highest plasma concentration after aglycone intake was more than five times higher than that after glucoside intake. In both high and low dose intake tests, the plasma concentration of genistein was significantly higher than that of daidzein despite the similar levels of intake. After long-term (4 wk) intakes (0.30 mmol/d), we also measured the plasma concentration of isoflavones (eight men, 45 y old). After 2 and 4 wk, these concentrations remained >100% higher after ingestion of aglycones than of glucosides. The isoflavone aglycones were absorbed faster and in greater amounts than their glucosides in humans. Isoflavone aglycone-rich products may be more effective than glucoside-rich products in preventing chronic disease such as coronary heart disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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