The effect of phytoestrogen on thyroid in subclinical hypothyroidism: Randomized, double blind, crossover study

Thozhukat Sathyapalan, Alison J. Dawson, Alan S. Rigby, Natalie J. Thatcher, Eric S. Kilpatrick, Stephen Atkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: Soy phytoestrogens are suggested to impair thyroid function but the effects of pharmacological doses of soy phytoestrogens are unknown; therefore, this study was performed to determine the effect of high dose soy phytoestrogens (66 mg) on thyroid function in subclinical hypothyroidism. Design and setting: Randomized, double-blind, crossover study. Participants: Forty four patients with subclinical hypothyroidism. Intervention: Participants were randomly allocated to either 66 mg phytoestrogen with 30 g soy protein (active) or 0 mg phytoestrogen with 30 g soy protein (placebo) supplementation for 8 weeks, washed out for 8 weeks and then crossed over for another 8 week period. Main outcome measures: The primary outcome was progression to overt hypothyroidism with the secondary outcome measures were changes in thyroid function tests. Results: Two patients in this trial progressed into overt hypothyroidism after high dose phytoestrogen supplementation. TSH, free thyroxine and triiodothyronine did not differ between groups. Conclusion: A pharmacological dose of 66 mg of soy phytoestrogens did not increase the overt thyroid failure rate or alter thyroid function tests in patients with subclinical hypothyroidism.

Original languageEnglish
Article number531
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
Issue numberSEP
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sep 2018



  • Daidzein
  • Genistein glucosides
  • Isoflavones
  • Phytoestrogen
  • Subclinical hypothyroidisim

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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