Dietary soy isoflavones and bone mineral density: Results from the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation

Gail A. Greendale, Gordon FitzGerald, Mei Hua Huang, Barbara Sternfeld, Ellen B Gold, Teresa Seeman, Sherry Sherman, MaryFran Sowers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


Isoflavones are naturally occurring selective estrogen receptor modulators, with potential bone protective effects. To study the relation between soy isoflavone intake and bone mineral density (BMD), the authors analyzed baseline data from the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation, a US community-based cohort study of women aged 42-52 years. Their 1996-1997 analysis included African-American (n = 497), Caucasian (n = 1,003), Chinese (n = 200), and Japanese (n = 227) participants. Genistein and daidzein intakes were highly correlated (r = 0.98); therefore, analyses were conducted by using genistein. Median intakes of genistein (measured in micrograms/day) by African Americans and Caucasians were too low to pursue relational analyses further. For Chinese and Japanese women, median genistein intakes were 3,511 and 7,151 μg/day, respectively. Ethnic-specific, linear models were used to predict BMD as a function of energy-adjusted tertile of intake, controlled for relevant covariates. For Chinese women, no association between genistein and BMD was found. Premenopausal, but not perimenopausal, Japanese women whose intakes were greater had higher spine and femoral neck BMD. Adjusted mean spinal BMD of those in the highest tertile of intake was 7.7% greater than that of women in the lowest tertile (p = 0.02); femoral neck BMD was 12% greater in the highest versus the lowest tertile (p < 0.0001).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)746-754
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2002


  • Bone density
  • Cohort studies
  • Diet
  • Genistein
  • Isoflavones
  • Menopause
  • Soybeans
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Dietary soy isoflavones and bone mineral density: Results from the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this