Supplements with natural S-equol may reduce joint pain, hot flashes in postmenopausal women

CHICAGO A new women's health, whole soy germ-based nutritional supplement containing natural S-equol reduced the frequency of moderate to severe hot flashes and reduced muscle and joint pain in the first study of its kind among U.S. postmenopausal women, according to peer-reviewed data presented as a poster presentation at the North American Menopause Society Annual Meeting. Also, the first study to report natural S-equol contributions to bone health and a study of natural S-equol safety were presented at NAMS.

"These data from U.S. women expand our knowledge and corroborate previous research in Japanese women about the benefit of a supplement containing the soy-based compound natural S-equol to manage menopausal symptoms, including reducing the frequency of hot flashes and muscle discomfort,” stated Belinda Jenks, co-author of the U.S. women's and safety studies, and director of scientific affairs and nutrition education at Pharmavite. “This and the other natural S-equol studies are part of the rigorous clinical collaborative program of Pharmavite and Otsuka to develop a supplement containing natural S-equol.”

S-equol is a compound resulting from the natural metabolism of daidzein, an isoflavone found in whole soybeans. Not everyone can produce 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% of Asians and 20% to 30% of North Americans and Europeans, who in general consume less soy than Asians, have the ability to produce S-equol. Research indicated that Japanese women have milder menopausal symptoms in those who are S-equol producers compared with nonproducers.

All of the studies presented at NAMS used supplement tablets that contained natural S-equol. The SE5-OH is the product of fermentation of whole soy germ by the bacterial strain Lactococcus 20-92. The process results in the conversion of the daidzein to S-equol. SE5-OH is created under current good manufacturing practices. Following fermentation, the bacteria undergo heat denaturation and are deactivated. The process is designed to produce a natural S-equol rich product, or nutraceutical ingredient. The ingredient has self-affirmed GRAS status.

Otsuka Pharmaceutical supported all of the studies. Complete reports of data from each study will be submitted for peer-review publication, the companies stated.