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Soy-based S-equol supplement shows heart health benefits for obese

By Stephen DANIELLS , 08-Feb-2013

A newly developed fermented soy germ-based nutritional supplement delivering S-equol may boost heart health by reducing LDL cholesterol in overweight & obese people, says a new study.

Results of the randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover trial indicated that daily tablets of natural S-equal were associated with improvements in LDL cholesterol levels and cardio-ankle vascular index (CAVI) scores.

“These findings suggest that natural S-equol has a role in the prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular disease through suppressing HbA1c [a marker of long-term presence of excess glucose in the blood], low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and cardio-ankle vascular index in overweight or obese individuals, based on sex and equol-producing capability,” wrote Japanese researchers in Clinical Endocrinology .

Equol

Individuals have different abilities to produce equol – an isoflavandiol that may have beneficial effects on prostate health, bone health, and for managing menopausal symptoms. Equol is produced in the gut by bacteria, but only 30 to 50% of people are reported to have the intestinal bacteria necessary to produce it.

Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. has developed a proprietary process to produce a natural S-equol supplement by fermenting whole soy germ with Lactococcus 20-92 to convert daidzein to S-equol.

The S-equol ingredient is created under current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) and is self-affirmed GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe).

Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. provided the supplements used and funded the study.

Study details

Researchers from the Clinical Research Institute at the Kyoto Medical Center recruited 54 overweight and obese Japanese and randomly assigned them to receive either placebo or S-equal tablets (daily dose of 10 mg S-equol). The data showed that only 32.1% of the participants were equol producers.

After 12 weeks of supplementation, the participants experienced significant decreases in HbA1c, LDL cholesterol levels and CAVI score, with results greater for female equol non-producers.

“Therefore, equol supplements might be effective for protection from CVD risks, not only in patients with metabolic syndrome but also in those who are overweight or obese,” wrote the researchers.

“Our findings also showed that the beneficial effects of natural S-equol supplementation were more evident in overweight or obese female subjects that were equol non-producers.”

Source: Clinical Endocrinology
March 2013, Volume 78, Issue 3, pages 365–372, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.2012.04400.x
“Effects of natural S-equol supplements on overweight or obesity and metabolic syndrome in the Japanese, based on sex and equol status”
Authors: Usui T, Tochiya M, Sasaki Y, Muranaka K, Yamakage H, Himeno A, Shimatsu A, Inaguma A, Ueno T, Uchiyama S, Satoh-Asahara N.

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