What is S-Equol?

S-Equol is an extract from soy isoflavones, it seems to be the specific extract that impacts the hormone estogen, which is in turn why it’s often used as a menopause supplement. The question of course is whether or not S-Equol actually works to reduce menopause symptoms and if so how.

Understanding S-Equol and its Properties

The Conversion of Soy Isoflavones to S-Equol

S-Equol is produced in the gut this conversion process occurs in up to 60% of individuals, [1] meaning that ultimately soy isoflavones may not work for everyone unless S-Equol is extracted in advance.

S-Equol's Binding Affinity to Estrogen Receptors

S-Equol binds to the estrogen receptor beta (ERβ). It does also bind estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) but less effectively. [2]

The binding to ERβ is of particular interest as it suggests that S-Equol may help treat menopausal symptoms.

Does S-Equol Work for Menopause?

The Effectiveness of S-Equol in Alleviating Hot Flashes

Around 70% of women experience hot flashes and night sweats during menopause. Typically hormone therapy has been used to manage these symptoms, but there are some concerns over long term use. And this is where S-Equol is the most promising, [3] there have been several clinical trials that have shown it to be effective, however it is important to note that most of the studies have been done in Japanese women. And this is important as Asians are far more likely to be self producers of S-Equol, this in turn means that there could be something more common in this population that may not apply to other groups.

Clinical Trials for S-Equol Dosage

The dosage used in most trials has been 10mg per day split between 5mg twice daily. [4] 

However, higher dosages of S-Equol, up to 200 mg per day do seem to have shown better results. 

Safety Considerations for S-Equol Use

There aren’t any serious issues reported as of yet.  However, due to its potential estrogenic activity it’s important to consider this if you have a family history of breast cancer.

S-Equol's Impact on Menopause Brain Fog

Glucose metabolism is important to mitochondrial function, which is important for maintaining brain energy. S-Equol has been shown to enhance glucose metabolism. So there is some evidence it can help with energy issues during menopause.

S-Equol as a Natural Antioxidant

How Estrogen Binding S-Equol Impacts Antioxidants

S-Equol's ability to activate estrogen receptor-beta (ERβ) may contribute to its antioxidant properties. That’s because activating this particular receptor increases the bodies anti oxidant creation. [5]

Potential Use of S-Equol for Skin Aging and Protection

There are also a few studies that suggest S-Equol can improve collagen production and skin elasticity, which whilst this is a general anti aging benefit, it’s a nice add on to something most commonly used to combat menopause symptoms. And of course this is another benefit of the anti oxidant uptake.

Does S-Equol Work For Menopause?

S-Equol is one of the active ingredients in soy isoflavones there’s enough evidence to suggest that it’s beneficial for hot flashes, although most other claims are less well covered. There seems to be something there in terms of overall brain health, but it’s still quite early in terms of the research.


1 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10297411/

2 - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15883431/

3 - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30592686/

4 - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22409590

5 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6770660/

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