Excretion of the lignans enterolactone and enterodiol and of equol in omnivorous and vegetarian postmenopausal women and in women with breast cancer

Lancet. 1982 Dec 11;2(8311):1295-9. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(82)91507-0.


Dietary studies and assays of urinary lignans in postmenopausal women showed that lignan excretion is significantly lower in urine of women with breast cancer than in normal omnivorous and vegetarian women and confirmed that there is a significant correlation between fibre intake and lignan excretion. It is suggested that the precursors of the human lignans enterolactone and enterodiol formed by the intestinal microflora are to be found in fibre-rich foods such as grains, nuts, and legumes. Excretion of equol, which has antioestrogenic properties, was similar in all groups studied and did not correlate with fibre intake, but occasional high values were found in some subjects.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 4-Butyrolactone / analogs & derivatives
  • 4-Butyrolactone / urine*
  • Aged
  • Benzopyrans / urine*
  • Breast Neoplasms / urine*
  • Butylene Glycols / urine*
  • Chromans / urine*
  • Diet*
  • Diet, Vegetarian*
  • Dietary Fiber* / administration & dosage
  • Energy Intake
  • Equol
  • Female
  • Furans / urine*
  • Humans
  • Isoflavones*
  • Lignans
  • Menopause
  • Menstruation
  • Middle Aged
  • Plant Extracts / analysis


  • 4',7-dihydroxy-3,4-dihydroisoflavone
  • Benzopyrans
  • Butylene Glycols
  • Chromans
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Furans
  • Isoflavones
  • Lignans
  • Plant Extracts
  • Equol
  • 2,3-bis(3'-hydroxybenzyl)butane-1,4-diol
  • 4-Butyrolactone
  • 2,3-bis(3'-hydroxybenzyl)butyrolactone