Phytoestrogen Metabolism by Adult Human Gut Microbiota
Phytoestrogens are plant-derived polyphenols with a structure similar to human estrogens. The three main groups of phytoestrogens, isoflavones, ellagitannins, and lignans, are transformed into equol, urolithins, and enterolignans, respectively, by bacteria. These metabolites have more estrogenic/antiestrogenic and antioxidant activities than their precursors, and they are more bioavailable. The aim of this study was to analyze the metabolism of isoflavones, lignans and ellagitannins by gut
... tannins by gut microbiota, and to study the possible correlation in the metabolism of these three groups of phytoestrogens. In vitro fermentation experiments were performed with feces samples from 14 healthy adult volunteers, and metabolite formation was measured by HPLC-PAD and HPLC-ESI/MS. Only the microbiota of one subject produced equol, while most of them showed production of O-desmethylangolensin (O-DMA). Significant inter-subject differences were observed in the metabolism of dihydrodaidzein and dihydrogenistein, while the glucoside isoflavones and their aglycones showed less variability, except for glycitin. Most subjects produced urolithins M-5 and E. Urolithin D was not detected, while uroltithin B was found in half of the individuals analyzed, and urolithins A and C were detected in two and four subjects, respectively. Enterolactone was found in all subjects, while enterodiol only appeared in five. Isoflavone metabolism could be correlated with the metabolism of lignans and ellagitannins. However, the metabolism of ellagitannins and lignans could not be correlated. This the first study where the metabolism of the three groups together of phytoestrogen, isoflavones, lignans, and ellagitannins by gut microbiota is analyzed.