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Br J Nutr. 2005 Dec;94(6):873-6.

High concordance of daidzein-metabolizing phenotypes in individuals measured 1 to 3 years apart.

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Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98109-1024, USA.


Particular intestinal bacteria are capable of metabolizing the soya isoflavone daidzein to equol and/or O-desmethylangolensin (O-DMA), and the presence of these metabolites in urine after soya consumption are markers of particular intestinal bacteria profiles. Prevalences of equol producers and O-DMA producers are approximately 30-50 % and 80-90 %, respectively, and limited observations have suggested that these daidzein-metabolizing phenotypes are stable within individuals over time. Characterizing stability of these phenotypes is important to understand their potential as markers of long-term exposure to particular intestinal bacteria and their associations with disease risk. We evaluated concordance within an individual for the equol-producer and O-DMA-producer phenotypes measured at two time points (T1, T2), 1-3 years apart. Phenotypes were ascertained by analysing equol and O-DMA using GC-MS in a spot urine sample collected after 3 d soya (source of daidzein) supplementation. In ninety-two individuals without recent (within 3 months before phenotyping) or current antibiotics use, 41 % were equol producers at T1 and 45 % were equol producers at T2, and 90 % were O-DMA producers at T1 and 95 % were O-DMA producers at T2. The percentage agreement for the equol-producer phenotype was 82 and for the O-DMA-producer phenotype was 89. These results indicate that these phenotypes are stable in most individuals over time, suggesting that they provide a useful biomarker for evaluating disease risk associated with harbouring particular intestinal bacteria responsible for, or associated with, the metabolism of the soya isoflavone daidzein.

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