Time-resolved fluoroimmunoassays (TR-FIA), with europium labeled phytoestrogens as tracers, were developed for the quantitative measurement of genistein, daidzein and enterolactone in plasma and urine for the purpose of screening large populations and studies on possible correlation between the values in biological fluids and the risk of western diseases. The mean values of the three phytoestrogens in plasma as determined by TR-FIA were similar to those obtained by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The urinary excretion levels of total individual phytoestrogens were higher than those obtained by GC-MS, with the exception of the daidzein values. However, comparing the assay results obtained by the present method and those obtained by GC-MS, a strong correlation was evident (r = 0.87 - 0.99, p < 0.001). We measured plasma levels of genistein, daidzein and enterolactone in 111 healthy Japanese women The mean and median levels of genistein were 406.8 and 306.3 nmol/l, respectively, and those of daidzein were 118.4 and 76.8 nmol/l, respectively. These levels are higher than those reported for Americans and Western Europeans. Isoflavone intake as calculated from dietary records (genistein: mean, 86.5 mircomol/day and daidzein: mean, 57.4 micromol/day) was correlated with the plasma concentrations observed (genistein: r = 0.287, p < 0.01 and daidzein: r = 0.313, p < 0.01). Plasma enterolactone levels were low in Japanese women (mean, about 10 nmol/l). The levels of urinary excretions of genistein, daidzein were also measured and it was found that, in the majority, the levels ranged between 5-25 and 5-50 micromol/24 h, respectively. In contrast, healthy Finnish women showed very low values of isoflavones (below 10 nmol/l in plasma (n = 87) and below 0.6 micromol/24 h in urine (n = 126) for both compounds) and high levels of enterolactone in both plasma and urine (plasma: mean, 25 nmol/l and urine: majority range, 1-7 micromol/24 h).