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Dietary soy isoflavones and bone mineral density: results from the study of women’s health across the nation

Isoflavones are naturally occurring selective estrogen receptor modulators, with potential bone protective effects. To study the relation between soy isoflavone intake and bone mineral density (BMD), the authors analyzed baseline data from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, a US community-based cohort study of women aged 42-52 years. Their 1996-1997 analysis included African-American (n = 497), Caucasian (n = 1,003), Chinese (n = 200), and Japanese (n = 227) participants. Genistein and daidzein intakes were highly correlated (r = 0.98); therefore, analyses were conducted by using genistein. Median intakes of genistein (measured in micrograms/day) by African Americans and Caucasians were too low to pursue relational analyses further. For Chinese and Japanese women, median genistein intakes were 3,511 and 7,151 microg/day, respectively. Ethnic-specific, linear models were used to predict BMD as a function of energy-adjusted tertile of intake, controlled for relevant covariates. For Chinese women, no association between genistein and BMD was found. Premenopausal, but not perimenopausal, Japanese women whose intakes were greater had higher spine and femoral neck BMD. Adjusted mean spinal BMD of those in the highest tertile of intake was 7.7% greater than that of women in the lowest tertile (p = 0.02); femoral neck BMD was 12% greater in the highest versus the lowest tertile (p < 0.0001).

Authors: Greendale GA; FitzGerald G; Huang MH; Sternfeld B; Gold E; Seeman T; Sherman S; Sowers M

Am J Epidemiol. 2002 Apr 15;155(8):746-54.

PubMed abstract

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