Plant estrogen or phytoestrogens (PE) are increasingly consumed for the purposes of menopause symptom relief and prevention of cardiovascular and other diseases. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of PE on plasma lipids and lipoproteins and on endothelial function. Twenty healthy, postmenopausal women, 50 to 70 years old, and with evidence of endothelial dysfunction, were treated with a soybean PE tablet of 80 mg/day of isoflavones. Endothelial function was assessed noninvasively using brachial ultrasound. A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized crossover design was employed. After 3 weeks stabilization on a standard fat-reduced diet, subjects received PE or placebo for 8 weeks in random order, separated by a washout period of 8 weeks. Compared with placebo, there were no significant effects of PE on blood pressure and plasma lipid or lipoprotein concentrations. Flow-mediated endothelium-dependent dilation (FMD) in response to reactive hyperemia was not significantly changed by PE ingestion (3. 3 +/- 0.7% on placebo vs 4.1 +/- 0.7% on PE, p >0.4). Variation in FMD was not correlated with change in plasma isoflavone concentration (r = -0.09, p >0.7). Glyceryl trinitrate endothelium-independent dilation was not significantly changed with PE (15.9 +/- 1.3% vs 13.7 +/- 1.2%, p >0.1). These results fail to show a significant impact of medium-term supplementation with 80 mg/day of isoflavones on lipid and lipoprotein levels or on endothelial function in healthy, postmenopausal women.