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J Anim Sci. 2013 Mar;91(3):1295-306. doi: 10.2527/jas.2011-4812. Epub 2013 Jan 10.

Isoflavone metabolism in domestic cats (Felis catus): comparison of plasma metabolites detected after ingestion of two different dietary forms of genistein and daidzein.

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Center for Feline Nutrition, Institute of Food, Nutrition, and Human Health, Massey University, Palmerston North, 4410, New Zealand.


Some felid diets contain isoflavones but the metabolic capacity of cats toward isoflavones is relatively unknown, despite the understanding that isoflavones have divergent biological potential according to their metabolite end products. The objective of this study was to determine the plasma metabolites detectable in domestic cats after exposure to 2 different dietary forms of isoflavones, either as a soy extract tablet (n = 6) or as part of a dietary matrix (n = 4). Serial blood samples were collected after isoflavone exposure to identify the plasma metabolites of each cat. Genistein was detected in its unconjugated form or as a monosulfate. Daidzein was detected as both a mono- and disulfate as well as in its unconjugated form. Other daidzein metabolites detected included equol mono- and disulfate, dihydrodaidzein, and O-desmethylangolensin. No β-glucuronide metabolites of either isoflavone were detected. Equol was produced in markedly fewer cats after ingestion of a soy extract tablet as a single oral bolus compared with cats consuming an isoflavone-containing diet. The detectable metabolites of the isoflavones, genistein and daidzein, in domestic cat plasma after dietary ingestion has been described in the present study for the first time. The metabolic capacity for isoflavones by domestic cats appears to be efficient, with only minimal proportions of the ingested amount detected in their unconjugated forms. This has implications for the potential of isoflavones to exert physiological activity in the domestic cat when consumed at concentrations representative of typical dietary intake.

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