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Climacteric. 2007 Dec;10(6):471-9.

Individual differences in equol production capability modulate blood pressure in tibolone-treated postmenopausal women: lack of effect of soy supplementation.

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  • 1Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Comparative Medicine Clinical Research Center, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.



Equol, a gut bacterial metabolite of the isoflavone daidzein, has been associated with beneficial health effects. Recent studies indicate that women with intestinal capacity to convert daidzein to equol also have the capacity to alter steroid metabolism and bioavailability of estrogens.


We evaluated whether individual equol production capability, while not consuming soy supplement, was associated with lower blood pressure in postmenopausal women using tibolone. In addition, in a randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial we assessed the effect of soy supplementation on blood pressure in both equol-producing (n = 20) and non-equol-producing (n = 20) women using tibolone. Blood pressure was recorded with a validated oscillometric technique.


The circulating equol levels rose 20-fold in the equol producers and 1.9-fold in the non-equol producers. At baseline, systolic blood pressure (129.9 +/- 2.6 vs. 138.5 +/- 3.1 mmHg, p = 0.02), diastolic blood pressure (72.2 +/- 1.5 vs. 76.6 +/- 1.3 mmHg, p = 0.01) and mean arterial blood pressure (93.5 +/- 1.7 vs. 99.9 +/- 1.8 mmHg, p = 0.007) were lower in equol producers compared to non-equol producers. Soy supplementation had no effect on blood pressure in either group, whereas the baseline differences persisted.


Postmenopausal women using tibolone characterized as equol producers had lower blood pressure compared to non-equol producers. Soy supplementation for 2 months had no blood pressure-lowering effect.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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