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Soy isoflavone intake and the likelihood of ever becoming a mother: the Adventist Health Study-2

Authors Jacobsen B, Jaceldo-Siegl K, Knutsen SF, Fan J, Oda K, Fraser GE

Received 6 November 2013

Accepted for publication 4 February 2014

Published 5 April 2014 Volume 2014:6 Pages 377—384

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJWH.S57137

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3


Bjarne K Jacobsen,1 Karen Jaceldo-Siegl,2 Synnøve F Knutsen,2 Jing Fan,2 Keiji Oda,2 Gary E Fraser2

1Department of Community Medicine, University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway; 2Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Population Medicine, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA, USA

Objectives: As little is known about the possible relationship between the intake of phytoestrogens and female fertility, we investigated the relationship between soy isoflavone intake and the risk of nulliparity and nulligravidity.
Methods: A cross-sectional study of 11,688 North American Adventist women aged 30–50 years old with data regarding childbearing. These women were, as a group, characterized by a high proportion (54%) of vegetarians and a healthy lifestyle with a very low prevalence of smoking and alcohol use.
Results: The mean isoflavone intake (17.9 mg per day) was very high compared to other Western populations. Only 6% of the women indicated no intake of isoflavones. We found, after adjustment for age, marital status, and educational level, an inverse relationship (P=0.05) between isoflavone intake and the likelihood of ever having become a mother. In women with high (≥40 mg/day) isoflavone intake (12% of this group of women), the adjusted lifetime probability of giving birth to a live child was reduced by approximately 3% (95% CI:0, 7) compared to women with low (<10 mg/day) intake. No relationships were found between the isoflavone intake and parity or age at first delivery in parous women. A similar inverse relationship (P=0.03) was found between the isoflavone intake and the risk of nulligravidity with a 13% (95% CI: 2, 26) higher risk of never have been pregnant in women with high (≥40 mg/day) isoflavone intake. These relationships were found mainly in women who reported problems becoming pregnant.
Conclusion: The findings suggest that a high dietary isoflavone intake may have significant impact on fertility.

Keywords: soybeans, phytoestrogens, isoflavones, fertility, Seventh-Day Adventist

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