Does genotype and equol-production status affect response to isoflavones? Data from a pan-European study on the effects of isoflavones on cardiovascular risk markers in post-menopausal women
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 07 March 2007
The increase in CVD incidence following the menopause is associated with oestrogen loss. Dietary isoflavones are thought to be cardioprotective via their oestrogenic and oestrogen receptor-independent effects, but evidence to support this role is scarce. Individual variation in response to diet may be considerable and can obscure potential beneficial effects in a sample population; in particular, the response to isoflavone treatment may vary according to genotype and equol-production status. The effects of isoflavone supplementation (50 mg/d) on a range of established and novel biomarkers of CVD, including markers of lipid and glucose metabolism and inflammatory biomarkers, have been investigated in a placebo-controlled 2×8-week randomised cross-over study in 117 healthy post-menopausal women. Responsiveness to isoflavone supplementation according to (1) single nucleotide polymorphisms in a range of key CVD genes, including oestrogen receptor (ER) α and β and (2) equol-production status has been examined. Isoflavones supplementation was found to have no effect on markers of lipids and glucose metabolism. Isoflavones improve C-reactive protein concentrations but do not affect other plasma inflammatory markers. There are no differences in response to isoflavones according to equol-production status. However, differences in HDL-cholesterol and vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 response to isoflavones v. placebo are evident with specific ERβ genotypes. In conclusion, isoflavones have beneficial effects on C-reactive protein, but not other cardiovascular risk markers. However, specific ERβ gene polymorphic subgroups may benefit from isoflavone supplementation.
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