: This study compared dietary isoflavone aglycones with the glycoside conjugates in a novel model of postmenopausal status, the aging domestic hen (Gallus gallus domesticus), to determine the effects on reproductive performance, cholesterol levels, and nutritional quality of eggs laid. Hens, 18 mo old, were randomized into four groups (n = 10/group) and fed for 28 d a conventional poultry corn/soymeal diet (Control), or diets supplemented with isoflavone glycosides from soy germ (diet A), isoflavone aglycons from a soy germ pasta (diet B), or conventional pasta lacking isoflavones (diet C). The egg-laying rate was recorded daily, plasma isoflavones and cholesterol were measured, and the nutritional composition of the eggs was determined. Egg-laying declined over a 4-week period in hens in the Control group and those fed isoflavone glycosides (diets A and C), whereas hens fed isoflavone aglycons (diet B) significantly increased their egg-laying efficiency. The total egg count and egg yield were significantly higher in hens fed isoflavone aglycons, and their plasma cholesterol concentrations were lower and the eggs laid had a 30% lower yolk cholesterol content. None of these effects were observed with diets containing similar levels of isoflavone glycosides. These studies recapitulate the clinical effects of soy germ pasta enriched with isoflavone aglycons and lend support to the greater efficacy of a diet rich in isoflavone aglycons.
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