EQUOL Overview Information
Equol comes from soy. When soy is eaten certain bacteria in the gut change chemicals contained in soy to equol. However, only 30-60% of people are able to break down soy chemicals to form equol. Some studies have shown that people capable of breaking soy down to form equol get more health benefits from soy. These people are called “equol producers.”
Equol is used for reducing menopause symptoms such as hot flashes in women. It is also used to prevent weak bones (osteoporosis) and to reduce wrinkled skin. Other uses include preventing metabolic syndrome, preventing diseases of the heart and blood vessels, treating high cholesterol, treating diabetes, and preventing breast and prostate cancer.
Equol comes in two different forms, R-equol or S-equol. Most commercial equol products contain S-equol.
How does it work?
Equol is a chemical that has some effects that are similar to the hormone estrogen, but it is much less potent than estrogen.
Possibly Effective for:
- Metabolic syndrome. There is early evidence that S-equol might lower some of the health risks that make overweight men and women more likely to develop metabolic syndrome.
- Reducing the risk of osteoporosis (weak bones). There is some evidence that taking S-equol might slow bone loss in women near or beyond menopause who cannot produce equol from soy.
- Wrinkled skin. There is some evidence that S-equol can reduce crow’s-feet wrinkles in postmenopausal women who are unable to produce equol from soy.
- Breast cancer.
- Heart disease.
- High cholesterol.
EQUOL Side Effects & Safety
Taking equol supplements is LIKELY SAFE when used for up to one year. Equol can cause some mild side effects such as constipation, bloating, and dizziness. It can also cause allergic reactions involving rash in some people.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn’t enough reliable information about the safety of taking equol if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Breast Cancer: The effects of equol in people with breast cancer are unclear. Some research finds that equol might “feed” certain breast cancers because it can act like estrogen. Other studies have found that equol seems to protect against breast cancer. Because there isn’t enough reliable information about the effects of equol in women with breast cancer, a history of breast cancer, or a family history of breast cancer, it is best to avoid using equol until more is known.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes: 10-40 mg per day in divided doses.
- For preventing weak bones (osteoporosis): 10 mg per day.
- For reducing skin wrinkles: 5 or 15 mg two times per day.
- For metabolic syndrome: 10 mg per day.