Soy isoflavones and their relationship with microflora: beneficial effects on human health in equol producers
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SourcePhytochem Rev (2013) 12:979–1000
The bioavailability of soy isoflavones depends on the composition of the microflora for each subject. Bacteria act on different isoflavones with increased or reduced absorption and cause biotransformation of these compounds into metabolites with higher biological activity. S-equol is the most important metabolite and only 25–65 % of the population have the microflora that produces this compound. The presence of equol-producing bacteria in soy product consumers means that the consumption of such products for prolonged periods leads to lower cardiovascular risk, reduced incidence of prostate and breast cancer, and greater relief from symptoms related to the menopause such as hot flushes and osteoporosis.