Intake of dietary phytoestrogens by Dutch women

Lital Keinan Boker, Yvonne T. Van Der Schouw, Miriam J.J. De Kleijn, Paul F. Jacques, Diederick E. Grobbee, Petra H.M. Peeters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Higher consumption of phytoestrogens might be protective against certain chronic diseases. Accurate quantification of habitual phytoestrogen intake is important for assessing associations between phytoestrogens and risk for certain diseases. The aim of this study was to estimate dietary intake of phytoestrogens in Dutch middle-aged and elderly women and to describe their main sources. Women were recruited between 1993 and 1997 and aged 50-69 y at enrollment (Prospect-EPIC; n = 17,357). A detailed food frequency questionnaire referring to the preceding year was filled in at recruitment. A literature search was conducted to obtain data regarding content of the isoflavones daidzein, genistein, formononetin, biochanin A, the coumestan coumesterol and the lignans matairesinol and secoisolariciresinol in relevant food items. Concentrations of each phytoestrogen in each food item were subsequently grouped by seven categories; group scores were multiplied by daily intakes of food items and then summed across food items to produce for each participant a total daily intake score for each phytoestrogen. Approximately 75% of participants were postmenopausal at recruitment. The mean age was 57 y. Geometric means of daily intake of daidzein, genistein, formononetin, biochanin A, coumesterol, matairesinol and secoisolariciresinol were 0.15, 0.16, 0.08, 0.001, <0.001, 0.07 and 0.93 mg, respectively. The main sources for isoflavones were peas and beans, nuts, grain products, coffee, tea and soy products. The main sources for coumestans were peas, beans and other vegetables. The main sources of lignans were grain products, fruit and alcoholic beverages (red and white wines). We conclude that intake levels of phytoestrogen in our study population are low; however, they are comparable with intake levels previously reported for other Western cohorts. In this population, phytoestrogen intake consisted largely of lignans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1319-1328
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Coumestans
  • Food frequency questionnaire
  • Isoflavones
  • Lignans
  • Phytoestrogens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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