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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2004 Apr;88(4-5):399-408.

Serum steroid hormones, sex hormone-binding globulin concentrations, and urinary hydroxylated estrogen metabolites in post-menopausal women in relation to daidzein-metabolizing phenotypes.

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Division of Public Health Sciences, 1100 Fairview Ave N., PO Box 19024, M4-B402, Seattle, WA 98109-1024, USA.


Equol and O-desmethylangolensin (O-DMA) are products of bacterial metabolism of daidzein, an isoflavone in soybeans; thus, the presence or absence of equol and/or O-DMA in urine is a marker of particular intestinal bacteria profiles. Plasma hormone concentrations may be lower in pre-menopausal women who harbor the bacteria capable of producing equol (equol producers) compared to women who do not (equol non-producers). We evaluated concentrations of serum hormones, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), and urinary 2-hydroxyestrone (2-OH E(1)) and 16alpha-hydroxyestrone (16alpha-OH E(1)) in relation to equol-producer and O-DMA-producer phenotypes in 89 post-menopausal women. Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) was 23% greater in O-DMA-producers compared to non-producers (P = 0.04). No significant differences in serum estrogens, androgens, metabolic hormones, or SHBG were observed in relation to either daidzein-metabolizing phenotype. Compared with non-producers within each phenotype, age-adjusted 2-OH E(1):16alpha-OH E(1) was 27% greater (P = 0.06) in equol-producers and 9% greater (P > 0.10) in O-DMA-producers, and 2-OH E(1) concentrations were 24% greater in equol producers (P = 0.07) and 42% greater in O-DMA producers (P = 0.02). No significant differences in 16alpha-OH E(1) were observed in relation to either phenotype. These results suggest that interindividual variability in intestinal bacteria may be related to differences in products of hormone metabolism in post-menopausal women.

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