Phytochemistry Reviews

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 979–1000 | Cite as

Soy isoflavones and their relationship with microflora: beneficial effects on human health in equol producers

  • Juan Manuel Sánchez-Calvo
  • Manuel Antonio Rodríguez-Iglesias
  • José M. G. Molinillo
  • Francisco A. Macías


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.


Aglycones Glucosides Daidzein Equol-producer Microflora 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan Manuel Sánchez-Calvo
    • 1
  • Manuel Antonio Rodríguez-Iglesias
    • 1
  • José M. G. Molinillo
    • 2
  • Francisco A. Macías
    • 2
  1. 1.Unidad de Gestión Clínica de MicrobiologíaHospital Universitario Puerta del MarCádizSpain
  2. 2.Grupo de Alelopatía, Departamento de Química Orgánica, Facultad de Ciencias, Instituto de Biomoléculas (INBIO)Universidad de CádizPuerto RealSpain

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