Thyroid hormones and thyroid autoantibodies, along with serum concentrations of two phytoestrogens of the isoflavone series, daidzein and genistein, were measured in 268 children without overt thyroid diseases, screened for iodine deficiency in one region of the Czech Republic. Since both phytoestrogens have been reported to inhibit thyroid hormone biosynthesis and in high concentrations to exert goitrogenic effects, we investigated whether their presence in the circulation could influence thyroid hormone function in a population where soy consumption is not common. Correlation analysis revealed a significant positive association of genistein with thyroglobulin autoantibodies and a negative correlation with thyroid volume. Multiple regression analysis of the relationships between actual phytoestrogen levels and measured thyroid parameters revealed only a weak but significant association between genistein and thyroid variables. Higher levels of free thyroxine were found in a subgroup of 36 children who ate soy food in the previous 24 h. In conclusion, only modest association was found between actual phytoestrogen levels and parameters of thyroid function. On the other hand, even small differences in soy phytoestrogen intake may influence thyroid function, which could be important when iodine intake is insufficient.
Milerová J, Cerovská J, Zamrazil V, Bílek R, Lapcík O, Hampl R. Actual levels of soy phytoestrogens in children correlate with thyroid laboratory parameters. Clin Chem Lab Med. 2006 September Institute of Endocrinology, Praha, Czech Republic.