"Natural S-equol, a soy-derived compound that is thought to interact with specific estrogen receptors, has been studied for its benefits in relieving menopausal symptoms in both U.S. and Japanese women," said Dr. Belinda H. Jenks, director of Scientific Affairs and Nutrition Education at Pharmavite LLC.
"The data presented at North American Menopause Society (NAMS) adds to this research and illustrates the potential that SE5-OH containing Natural S-equol has for management of menopausal symptoms," she added.
Soybeans contain a compound daidzein that certain bacteria living within the digestive tract of some individuals can metabolize, or convert, into Natural S-equol [7-hydroxy-3-(4'-hydroxyphenyl)-chroman], a compound thought to act as a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM).
SERMs can bind to the body's receptors for estrogen, the naturally occurring female sex hormone, and Natural S-equol has a selective affinity for the estrogen receptor beta.
Not everyone can produce Natural S-equol after soy consumption, as the production depends on the types of bacteria present in the large intestine and may be influenced by the amount of soy consumed.
About 50 percent of Asians and 20 to 30 percent of North Americans and Europeans, who in general consume less soy than Asians, have the ability to produce equol.
Studies in Japan have documented a link between milder menopausal symptoms in equol producers as compared to non-producers, but efficacy studies of S-equol, and of SE5-OH containing Natural S-equol, have been limited.
The study was presented at the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) 20th annual meeting.