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Nutr Cancer. 1998;30(3):207-12.

Usual consumption of plant foods containing phytoestrogens and sex hormone levels in postmenopausal women in Wisconsin.

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University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center, Madison 53706, USA.


Consumption of phytoestrogens may reduce hormone-dependent cancer risk through alterations in the actions or metabolism of steroid hormones. Studies in humans of phytoestrogen-hormone interactions have been limited and inconsistent. Relations between the consumption of phytoestrogen-containing foods and serum sex hormones and sex hormone-binding globulin were studied in a population-based sample of postmenopausal women who participated in the Nutritional Factors in Eye Disease Study of the Beaver Dam Eye Study. Information on phytoestrogen-containing foods (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, chili, dark bread, peas, and dried beans) was collected by interviewer-administered food-frequency questionnaires. Estrone, sex hormone-binding globulin, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, and total and free testosterone were measured. Analyses included 246 postmenopausal women not taking hormone replacements. Partial correlations between hormones and intake of phytoestrogen-containing foods were computed, with adjustment for age, body mass index, years since menopause, and total energy intake. Number of standard servings per week of whole-grain products from the dark bread group was inversely associated with total testosterone (r = -0.20, p = 0.002). Although not statistically significant, other hormones displayed similar inverse associations with dark bread consistent with a common metabolic pathway. Although the magnitude of association was small, the data are consistent with the possibility that consumption of some phytoestrogen-containing foods may affect levels of testosterone in postmenopausal women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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