Effects of soy intake on sex hormone metabolism in premenopausal women

Margaret C. Martini, Betsy B. Dancisak, Carol J. Haggans, William Thomas, Joanne L Slavin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Studies suggest that phytoestrogens in soy products may impart hormonal effects that protect women against breast cancer. Limited research suggests that intake of soy products high in isoflavonoid phytoestrogens affects sex hormone metabolism, but it is unknown whether phytoestrogens in soy have any effect on menstrual function or serum sex hormones in women on common hormone therapies, such as oral contraceptives (OC). We studied the effects of soy in 36 premenopausal women, 20 of whom used OC. Subjects consumed their normal diet for two menstrual cycles and added a soy beverage containing 20 g of protein and 38 mg of total isoflavones to their usual diet for another two menstrual cycles. No significant differences were observed in serum estrone, estradiol, sex hormone-binding globulin, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, prolactin, or progesterone concentrations with soy feeding in the non-OC or the OC group. No changes in menstrual cycle length or the urinary estrogen metabolite ratio of 2-hydroxyestrone to 16α-hydroxyestrone were seen with soy feeding in the non-OC or the OC group. Levels of urinary estrogen metabolites were significantly different between the non-OC and the OC group. Thus soy consumption had no significant effect on the menstrual cycle, serum sex hormones, or urinary estrogen metabolite ratio in premenopausal OC or non-OC users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-139
Number of pages7
JournalNutrition and Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999


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