Experts discuss S-equol data at ninth international symposium on role of soy

Washington, DC (Oct. 19, 2010) The latest research into the health effects and safety of a soy-based compound called S-equol was described in talks and presentations by experts at a special session on Tuesday, Oct. 19 during the Ninth International Symposium on the Role of Soy in Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention and Treatment, held Oct. 16 to 19 in Washington, D.C.

S-equol is a compound resulting — when certain bacteria are present in the digestive track — from the natural metabolism, or conversion, 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 percent of Asians and 20 to 30 percent of North Americans and Europeans have the ability to produce S-equol.

Development and ongoing research of a supplement containing Natural S-equol is being conducted by the Saga Nutraceuticals Research Institute of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Pharmavite LLC is studying Natural S-equol in a supplement form for the management of menopausal symptoms, including in clinical trials. Pharmavite is the maker of Nature Made® vitamins and minerals and is a subsidiary of Otsuka, and together with Otsuka is one of the sponsors of the Soy Symposium.

S-equol selectively binds to the receptors for the naturally occurring female sex hormone estrogen, with a strong affinity to the estrogen receptor beta. On binding to these receptors, S-equol mimics some, but not all, activities of natural estrogen. Because of these actions at the receptor, it has been proposed that S-equol may alleviate some of the symptoms caused by diminished estrogen production during menopause.

The Soy Symposium, held every two years since 1994, included sessions on the results of clinical trials and epidemiologic studies, the physiological effects of soyfoods and soybean components, proposed mechanisms for the health effects of soyfoods and identification of future research needs.

For more information about the science behind Natural S-equol please visit

Oral Presentations

Introduction to Equol.

Stephen Barnes, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology & Toxicology, of Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics, of Environmental Health Sciences, of Genetics, and of Vision Science at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Safety Assessment of Natural S-equol.

Belinda H. Jenks, Ph.D., Director of Scientific Affairs and Nutrition Education at Pharmavite LLC.

Efficacy and Safety of a Natural S-equol Supplement for Menopausal Healthcare.

Takeshi Aso, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Chairman Emeritus, Department of Comprehensive Reproductive Medicine at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University and President-Elect of the Asia Pacific Menopause Federation.

Equol Producer Status Changes During Soy Intervention in Women.

Adrian A. Franke, Ph.D., Professor at the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii and Graduate Faculty, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.

Effects of an Equol Supplement on Bone Mineral Density in Postmenopausal Japanese Women.

Yuko Tousen, National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Japan.

The Effect of Equol on Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome in Japanese, from the Standpoint of Gender and Equol Producing Capability.

Takeshi Usui, Clinical Research Institute, National Hospital Organization Kyoto Medical Center in Japan.


Natural S-equol Supplement Relieves Menopausal Symptoms in Japanese Postmenopausal Women. Shigeto Uchiyama of the Saga Nutraceuticals Research Institute, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., in Tokyo, Japan, et. al.

Effects of Fermented Soy Food Containing Natural S-equol on Tail Skin Temperature in Ovariectomized Rat. Chieko Ando of the Saga Nutraceuticals Research Institute, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., in Tokyo, Japan,

Safety Assessments of Natural S-equol Supplement by Consecutive Ingestion to Japanese Men and Postmenopausal Women. Tomomi Ueno of the Saga Nutraceuticals Research Institute, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., in Tokyo, Japan, et. al.

Endogenous and Dietary Equol Effects in Male and Female Mice. F.N.A. Dewi of Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston Salem, N.C., et. al.

Effect of Soy Isoflavones Intake and Equol Phenotypes on Blood Lipids and IMT in Chinese Adults. Yun Cai of the Faculty of Nutrition, School of Public Health, Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, China, et. al.

About Pharmavite LLC: For almost 40 years, Pharmavite has earned and maintained the trust of healthcare professionals, consumers, and retailers by manufacturing high-quality vitamins, minerals, herbs and other dietary supplements that are safe, effective and science-based. Nature Made® is the number one selling dietary supplement brand in the food, drug, club and mass channels. The dietary supplement industry is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission, as well as by government agencies in each of the 50 states.

About Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.: Founded in 1964, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. is a global healthcare company with the corporate philosophy: ‘Otsuka-people creating new products for better health worldwide.’ Otsuka researches, develops, manufactures and markets innovative and original products, with a focus on pharmaceutical products for the treatment of diseases and consumer products for the maintenance of everyday health. Otsuka is committed to being a corporation that creates global value, adhering to the high ethical standards required of a company involved in human health and life, maintaining a dynamic corporate culture, and working in harmony with local communities and the natural environment. Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Otsuka Holdings Co., Ltd., the holding company for the Otsuka Group. The Otsuka Group comprises 145 companies and employs approximately 39,000 people in 23 countries and regions worldwide. Otsuka and its consolidated subsidiaries earned ¥1,084.2 billion (approx. US $11.7 billion*) in annual revenues in fiscal 2009. Visit Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. at

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