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Phytoestrogens Providing Menopause Relief

‘Phytoestrogens’ are compounds found in plants that can have estrogenic effects when metabolised. Phytoestrogens have been researched and trialled in women of menopausal age to help alleviate and reduce uncomfortable symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes. Soy isoflavones are a commonly researched phytoestrogen, with potential to act as a natural alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), without the associated adverse effects.

 




Equol

Equol is a potent metabolite of the soy isoflavone daidzein, found in soybeans and soy products. When obtaining equol through the diet via soy consumption, the benefits are reliant on the ability of the individual to metabolise daidzein with specific intestinal bacteria. Only a small percentage of the human population has the present intestinal bacteria to metabolise and produce equol. Research suggests 25 – 30% of the Western population and 50 – 55% of the Asian population produces equol when fed soy products, presenting a link between the regular consumption of soy and the frequency of equol producers. Equol has been of interest in relation to its antioxidant and hormone-like activity to support menopausal symptoms. With a high binding affinity to estrogen receptors, equol acts as a phytoestrogen, mimicking the effect of estrogen in the body.

 

The consensus among studies suggests the supplementation of equol, for both producers and nonproducers, reduces the intensity and frequency of hot flushes. Equol has also been observed as chemoprotective against specific endocrine-related pathologies, such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, and other estrogen-dependent conditions.

 

For both producers and nonproducers of equol, research observed best results when supplementing 10–30 mg/day of equol.

 

 

Diosgenin

Diosgenin is a natural plant extract derived from wild yam. Research has observed various effects of diosgenin, particularly for the negative effects of perimenopause and menopause.  The natural reductions of estrogen at this life stage are known to degrade muscle and bone health, causing the increased risk of fracture and other injuries. Diosgenin has been demonstrated to support a healthy hormone balance to influence muscle and bone health.

Diosgenin encourages adaptation to training by recruiting satellite cells to support the building of new muscle, encouraging gains in strength and lean mass in response to exercise.

 

Diosgenin is also able to induce GLUT4 translocation in muscle, to support muscular uptake of glucose and boost muscular metabolism and energy utilisation while supporting brown fat activity and assisting with reduction of inflammation. Healthy reduced levels of inflammation assist with leaning and recovery in response to exercise, while supporting protection of bone and skin health.

 



 

 

 

Daily JW, Ko BS, Ryuk J, Liu M, Zhang W, Park S. Equol Decreases Hot Flashes in Postmenopausal Women: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. J Med Food. 2019;22(2):127-139. Available from: 10.1089/jmf.2018.4265

 

Franke AA, Lai JF, Halm BM, Pagano I, Kono N, Mack WJ, Hodis HN. Equol production changes over time in postmenopausal women. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry. 2012 Jun 1;23(6):573-9. Available from: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2011.03.002

 

Jenks BH, Iwashita S, Nakagawa Y, et al. A pilot study on the effects of S-equol compared to soy isoflavones on menopausal hot flash frequency. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2012;21(6):674-682. Available from: 10.1089/jwh.2011.3153

 

Hod R, Maniam S, Mohd Nor NH. A Systematic Review of the Effects of Equol (Soy Metabolite) on Breast Cancer. Molecules. 2021 Feb 19;26(4):1105. Available from: 10.3390/molecules26041105 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7922416/

 

 

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