Effect of dietary components, including lignans and phytoestrogens, on enterohepatic circulation and liver metabolism of estrogens and on sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG)

J Steroid Biochem. 1987;27(4-6):1135-44. doi: 10.1016/0022-4731(87)90200-7.


A brief account of our present knowledge on the enterohepatic metabolism of estrogens and on the origin, metabolism and biological effects of mammalian lignans and phytoestrogens is undertaken. Furthermore, recently published results on the effects of dietary fiber, fat and carbohydrates on estrogen metabolism are reviewed. New preliminary results are presented on quantitative assays of lignans and phytoestrogens in urine of women belonging to various dietary and population groups and in a group of chimpanzees. The highest values of lignans and phytoestrogens were found in the non-human primates, and in macrobiotic, lactovegetarian and Japanese women, all groups considered having a low risk for the development of breast and other hormone-dependent cancer. New results on correlations between intake of various fibers, lignan and phytoestrogen excretion and plasma levels of estrogens, free testosterone and SHBG in women are presented. There is a significant positive correlation between the intake of fiber and urinary excretion of lignans and phytoestrogens, and the concentration of plasma SHBG. Fiber intake and urinary excretion of lignans and equol correlated negatively with plasma percentage free estradiol. Enterolactone excretion correlated negatively with plasma free testosterone. It is concluded that dietary macro- and micronutrients seem to play an important role in estrogen metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bile / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / pharmacology
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology
  • Dietary Fiber / pharmacology
  • Dietary Proteins / pharmacology
  • Enterohepatic Circulation / drug effects
  • Estrogens / metabolism*
  • Estrogens / pharmacology*
  • Estrogens, Non-Steroidal*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Isoflavones*
  • Lignans
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Phytoestrogens
  • Plant Extracts / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Preparations
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin / metabolism*


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Estrogens
  • Estrogens, Non-Steroidal
  • Isoflavones
  • Lignans
  • Phytoestrogens
  • Plant Extracts
  • Plant Preparations
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin