Increased probiotic yogurt or resistant starch intake does not affect isoflavone bioavailability in subjects consuming a high soy diet

Theresa A Larkin, William E Price, Lee B Astheimer
Nutrition 2007, 23 (10): 709-18

OBJECTIVE: Probiotics and prebiotics that affect gut microflora balance and its associated enzyme activity may contribute to interindividual variation in isoflavone absorption after soy intake, possibly enhancing isoflavone bioavailability. This study examined the effects of the consumption of bioactive yogurt (a probiotic) or resistant starch (a known prebiotic) in combination with high soy intake on soy isoflavone bioavailability.

METHODS: Using a crossover design, chronic soy consumption was compared with soy plus probiotic yogurt or resistant starch in older male and postmenopausal females (n = 31). Isoflavone bioavailability was assessed at the beginning and end of each 5-wk dietary period by sampling plasma and urine after a standardized soy meal.

RESULTS: Chronic soy intake did not significantly affect plasma or urinary isoflavones after the soy meal and there were no significant effects of probiotic or resistant starch treatment. However, there were trends for increased circulating plasma daidzein and genistein after the probiotic treatment and for increased plasma daidzein and genistein 24 h after soy intake with resistant starch treatment. Neither treatment induced or increased equol production, although there was a trend for increased plasma equol in "equol-positive" subjects (n = 12) after probiotic treatment.

CONCLUSION: The weak or absence of effects of probiotic yogurt or resistant starch supplement to a chronic soy diet suggests that gut microflora were not modified in a manner that significantly affected isoflavone bioavailability or metabolism.

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