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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2012 Jun;21(6):674-82. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2011.3153. Epub 2012 Mar 12.

A pilot study on the effects of S-equol compared to soy isoflavones on menopausal hot flash frequency.

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  • 1Pharmavite LLC, Northridge, CA 91604, USA.



S-equol, a metabolite of the soy isoflavone daidzein, has been proposed as having potential for relief of menopausal symptoms. This study compared the efficacy of the natural S-equol supplement, SE5-OH, with isoflavones for relieving hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.


An 8-week randomized, double-blind, active comparator trial with SE5-OH was conducted in postmenopausal women (aged 45-65 years), who experienced ≥5 hot flashes/day. Participants (n=102) were assigned to one of four treatment groups: 10 (n=24), 20 (n=27), or 40 (n=25) mg S-equol/day or soy isoflavones (n=26). Participants recorded their hot flash frequency and rated their menopause symptom severity.


Reductions in hot flash frequency at week 8 were similar for all treatment groups. However, based on analyses of the cumulative effect for the 8-week period, 40 mg/day S-equol had a greater reduction of hot flash frequency compared to isoflavones (p=0.021). A subgroup analysis further indicated that for subjects with >8 hot flashes/day at baseline, 20 and 40 mg/day S-equol were superior to isoflavones in reducing hot flash frequency (p=0.045 and p=0.001, respectively). In addition, 10 and 20 mg/day S-equol improved muscle and joint pain score compared with isoflavones (p=0.003 and p=0.005, respectively).


S-equol, 10 mg/day, appears to be as effective as soy isoflavones at reducing hot flash frequency and more effective for relieving muscle and joint pain in postmenopausal women. S-equol, ≥20 mg/day, alleviates hot flashes to a greater extent than soy isoflavones in those women who experience >8 hot flashes/day.

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