Latest Research Highlights: Dietary Phytoestrogens and Cause-Specific Mortality

Published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2023

Dietary phytoestrogens and total cause-specific mortality: results from 2 prospective cohort studies

Zhangling Chen, Frank Qian, Yang Hu, Trudy Voortman, Yanping Li, Eric B Rimm, Qi Sun

Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring compounds in plant based foods. Researchers studied 75,981 females in the Nurses’ Health Study and 44,001 males in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, who were free of cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, or cancer at baseline and followed them for more than three decades for mortality. Their diet was repeatedly assessed using validated food frequency questionnaires every 2-4 years. Statistical models accounted for potential differences in demographics, dietary and lifestyle factors, and medical history. For individual phytoestrogens, the study found reductions in mortality for higher intakes of dietary sources of isoflavones, lignans, and coumarins. Individual phytoestrogens were also significantly associated with lower risk of CVD mortality and other types of mortality. Primary food sources of phytoestrogens, including tofu, soy milk, whole grains, tea, and flaxseed, were also inversely associated with total mortality.