Supplemental dietary racemic equol has modest benefits to bone but has mild uterotropic activity in ovariectomized rats

Academic Article


  • Soy isoflavones and their metabolites, with estrogenic activity, have been considered candidates for reducing postmenopausal bone loss. In this study, we examined the effect of dietary equol, a bioactive metabolite of the soy isoflavone daidzein, on equol tissue distribution, bone parameters, and reproductive tissue activity using an adult ovariectomized (OVX) rat model. An 8-wk feeding study was conducted to compare 4 dietary treatments of equol (0, 50, 100, 200 mg/kg diet) in 6-mo-old OVX female Sprague-Dawley rats. A dose response increase in tissue equol concentrations was observed for serum, liver, kidney, and heart, and a plateau occurred at 100 mg equol/kg diet for intestine. In OVX rats receiving 200 mg equol/kg diet, femoral calcium concentration was greater than those receiving lower doses but was still less than SHAM (P < 0.05), and other bone measures were not improved. Tibia calcium concentrations were lower in OVX rats receiving 100 and 200 mg equol/kg diet compared with the OVX control rats. Trabecular bone mineral density of tibia was also lower in equol-fed OVX rats. At this dietary equol intake, uterine weight was higher (P < 0.05) than in other OVX groups but lower than the SHAM-operated intact rats. The 200 mg/kg diet dose of dietary equol significantly increased proliferative index in the uterine epithelium. Dietary equol had no stimulatory effect on mammary gland epithelium. We conclude that in OVX rats, a dietary equol dose that had modest effect on bone also exerts mild uterotropic effects. © 2009 American Society for Nutrition.
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    Author List

  • Legette LL; Martin BR; Shahnazari M; Lee WH; Helferich WG; Qian J; Waters DJ; Arabshahi A; Barnes S; Welch J
  • Start Page

  • 1908
  • End Page

  • 1913
  • Volume

  • 139
  • Issue

  • 10