Soy-isoflavone-enriched foods and inflammatory biomarkers of cardiovascular disease risk in postmenopausal women: Interactions with genotype and equol production

Wendy L. Hall, Katerina Vafeiadou, Jesper Hallund, Susanne Bügel, Corinna Koebnick, Manja Reimann, Marika Ferrari, Francesco Branca, Duncan Talbot, Tony Dadd, Maria Nilsson, Karin Dahlman-Wright, Jan Åke Gustafsson, Anne Marie Minihane, Christine M. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


Background: Dietary isoflavones are thought to be cardioprotective because of their structural similarity to estrogen. The reduction of concentrations of circulating inflammatory markers by estrogen may be one of the mechanisms by which premenopausal women are protected against cardiovascular disease. Objective: Our aim was to investigate the effects of isolated soy isoflavones on inflammatory biomarkers [von Willebrand factor, intracellular adhesion molecule 1, vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1), E-selectin, monocyte chemoattractant protein 1, C-reactive protein (CRP), and endothelin 1 concentrations]. Differences with respect to single-nucleotide polymorphisms in selected genes [estrogen receptor α (XbaI and PvuII), estrogen receptor β [ERβ (AluI) and ERβ[cx] (Tsp509I), endothelial nitric oxide synthase (Glu298Asp), apolipoprotein E (Apo E2, E3, and E4), and cholesteryl ester transfer protein (TaqIB)] and equol production were investigated. Design: One hundred seventeen healthy European postmenopausal women participated in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover dietary intervention trial. Isoflavone-enriched (genistein-to-daidzein ratio of 2:1; 50 mg/d) or placebo cereal bars were consumed for 8 wk, with a washout period of 8 wk between the crossover. Plasma inflammatory factors were measured at 0 and 8 wk of each study arm. Results: Isoflavones improved CRP concentrations [odds ratio (95% CI) for CRP values >1 mg/L for isoflavone compared with placebo: 0.43 (0.27, 0.69)]; no significant effects of isoflavone treatment on other plasma inflammatory markers were observed. No significant differences in the response to isoflavones were observed according to subgroups of equol production. Differences in the VCAM-1 response to isoflavones and to placebo were found with ERβ AluI genotypes. Conclusion: Isoflavones have beneficial effects on CRP concentrations, but not on other inflammatory biomarkers of cardiovascular disease risk in postmenopausal women, and may improve VCAM-1 in an ERβ gene polymorphic subgroup.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1260-1268
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2005


  • C-reactive protein
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cell adhesion molecules
  • Endothelin 1
  • Estrogen receptor
  • Gene-nutrient interaction
  • Inflammatory factors
  • Isoflavones
  • Monocyte chemoattractant protein 1
  • Postmenopausal women
  • Soy
  • Von Willebrand factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science


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