Daidzein and genistein have differential effects in decreasing whole body bone mineral density but had no effect on hip and spine density in premenopausal women: A 2-year randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study

Fatima Nayeem, Nai Wei Chen, Manubai Nagamani, Karl Anderson, Leejane Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Soy isoflavones are potentially beneficial phytoestrogens, but their tissue-selective effects in women are poorly understood. We tested the hypothesis that soy isoflavones affect bone mineral density (BMD), which may be influenced by individual differences in isoflavone metabolism and serum calcium levels. Ninety-nine healthy premenopausal women were randomized to isoflavones (136.6 mg aglycone equivalence) and 98 to placebo for 5 days per week for up to 2 years. BMD, serum calcium, and urinary excretion of daidzein and genistein were measured before and during treatment. In 129 adherent subjects, we found that isoflavone exposure, determined by urinary excretion levels, but not by dose assignment, interacted with serum calcium in affecting whole body BMD, but not hip and spine BMD. The regression coefficient was −0.042 for genistein excretion (GE) and 0.091 for the interaction between GE and serum calcium (all P < .05). Daidzein excretion had similar but marginal effect. Genistein significantly decreased whole body BMD only at low normal serum calcium levels but increased whole body BMD at higher serum calcium levels. Comparing maximum to minimum GE, mean changes in whole body BMD were +0.033 and −0.113 g/cm2 at serum calcium levels of 10 and 8.15 mg/dL, respectively. These associations were not evident by intention-to-treat analysis, which could not model for inter-individual differences in isoflavone metabolism. In summary, soy isoflavones decrease whole body BMD only when serum calcium is low. Isoflavones are dietary substances that may influence calcium homeostasis by releasing calcium from bone while sparing the common fracture risk sites hip and spine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-81
Number of pages12
JournalNutrition Research
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019



  • Bone metabolism
  • Calcium homeostasis
  • Daidzein
  • Genistein
  • Hormone receptor modulators
  • Isoflavones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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