Plasma pharmacokinetics and urinary excretion of isoflavones after ingestion of soy products with different aglycone/glucoside ratios in South Korean women

  • Chang, Youngeun (Department of Agrofood Resources, National Academy of Agricultural Science, Rural Development Administration) ;
  • Choue, Ryowon (Department of Medical Nutrition, Graduate School of East-West Medical Science, Kyung Hee University)
  • Received : 2012.12.27
  • Accepted : 2013.07.01
  • Published : 2013.10.01


Asian populations are thought to receive significant health benefits from traditional diets rich in soybeans due to high isoflavone contents. However, available epidemiologic data only weakly support this hypothesis. The present study was carried out to assess the pharmacokinetics of isoflavones in South Korean women after ingestion of soy-based foods. Twenty-six healthy female volunteers (20-30 y old) consumed three different soy products (i.e., isogen, soymilk, and fermented soybeans) with different aglycone/glucoside ratios. Plasma and urine isoflavone concentrations were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) after ingestion of one of the soy products. Pharmacokinetic parameters were determined using the WinNonlin program. The area under the curve (AUC) for plasma daidzein levels of the soymilk group ($2,101{\pm}352ng{\cdot}h/mL$) was significantly smaller than those of the isogen ($2,628{\pm}573ng{\cdot}h/mL$) and fermented soybean ($2,593{\pm}465ng{\cdot}h/mL$) groups. The maximum plasma concentration ($C_{max}$) of daidzein for the soymilk group ($231{\pm}44$ ng/mL) was significantly higher than those of the isogen ($160{\pm}32$ ng/mL) and fermented soybean ($195{\pm}35$ ng/mL) groups. The half-lives of daidzein and genistein in the soymilk group (5.9 and 5.6 h, respectively) were significantly shorter than those in the individuals given isogen (9.6 and 8.5 h, respectively) or fermented soybean (9.5 and 8.2 h, respectively). The urinary recovery rates of daidzein and genistein were 42% and 17% for the isogen group, 46% and 23% for the fermented soybean group, and 33% and 22% for the soymilk group. In conclusion, our data indicated that soy products containing high levels of isoflavone aglycone are more effective for maintaining plasma isoflavone concentrations. Additional dose-response, durational, and interventional studies are required to evaluate the ability of soy-based foods to increase the bioavailability of isoflavones that positively affect human health.


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