Diet and urinary excretion of lignans in female subjects

Med Biol. 1981 Aug;59(4):259-61.


Lignans, a class of compounds having a 2,3-dibenzylbutane skeleton, have recently been identified for the first time in humans and animals and evidence indicating their formation by intestinal microflora has previously been established in rats and humans. In the present report the influence of diet on the biosynthesis of this new group of compounds was investigated by comparing the urinary excretion of the principal lignan, trans-2,3-bis-(3-hydroxybenzyl) -butyrolactone (enterolactone, HBBL), in 12 omnivoric and 14 vegetarian women. Young vegetarian women were found to excrete significantly greater amounts of enterolactone than omnivores, while old vegetarians excreted comparable amounts to the omnivore group. A statistically significant (P less than 0.01-0.001) correlation was found between the amount of fibre in the diet and the urinary enterolactone excretion.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Diet*
  • Diet, Vegetarian
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lignans
  • Meat
  • Middle Aged
  • Plant Extracts / urine*


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Lignans
  • Plant Extracts