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Oestrogen levels in serum and urine of premenopausal women eating low and high amounts of meat

  • Brook E Harmon (a1), Yukiko Morimoto (a1), Fanchon Beckford (a1), Adrian A Franke (a1), Frank Z Stanczyk (a2) and Gertraud Maskarinec (a1)...

Abstract

Objective

Based on the hypothesis that high-meat diets may increase breast cancer risk through hormonal pathways, the present analysis compared oestrogens in serum and urine by meat-eating status.

Design

Intervention with repeated measures.

Setting

Two randomized soya trials (BEAN1 and BEAN2) among premenopausal healthy women.

Subjects

BEAN1 participants completed seven unannounced 24 h dietary recalls and donated five blood and urine samples over 2 years. BEAN2 women provided seven recalls and three samples over 13 months. Serum samples were analysed for oestrone (E1) and oestradiol (E2) using RIA. Nine oestrogen metabolites were measured in urine by LC–MS. Semi-vegetarians included women who reported consuming <30 g of red meat, poultry and fish daily, and pescatarians those who reported consuming <20 g of meat/poultry but >10 g of fish daily. All other women were classified as non-vegetarians. We applied mixed models to compute least-square means by vegetarian status adjusted for potential confounders.

Results

The mean age of the 272 participants was 41·9 (sd 4·5) years. Serum E1 (85 v. 100 pg/ml, P = 0·04) and E2 (140 v. 154 pg/ml, P = 0·04) levels were lower in the thirty-seven semi-vegetarians than in the 235 non-vegetarians. The sum of the nine urinary oestrogen metabolites (183 v. 200 pmol/mg creatinine, P = 0·27) and the proportions of individual oestrogens and pathways did not differ by meat-eating status. Restricting the models to the samples collected during the luteal phase strengthened the associations.

Conclusions

Given the limitations of the study, the lower levels of serum oestrogens in semi-vegetarians than non-vegetarians need confirmation in larger populations.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email gertraud@cc.hawaii.edu

References

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Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
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