Background: Isoflavone supplements, consumed by women experiencing menopausal symptoms, are suggested to have positive effects on menopause-related adiposity and cardiovascular disease risk profile, but discussions about their safety are still ongoing. Objective: The objective was to study the effects of an 8-wk consumption of 2 different isoflavone supplements compared with placebo on whole-genome gene expression in the adipose tissue of postmenopausal women. Design: This double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover intervention consisted of 2 substudies, one with a low-genistein (LG) supplement (56% daidzein + daidzin, 16% genistein + genistin, and 28% glycitein + glycitin) and the other with a high-genistein (HG) supplement (49% daidzein + daidzin, 41% genistein + genistin, and 10% glycitein + glycitin). Both supplements provided ~100 mg isoflavones/d (aglycone equivalents). After the 8-wk isoflavone and placebo period, whole-genome arrays were performed in subcutaneous adipose tissue of postmenopausal women (n = 26 after LG, n = 31 after HG). Participants were randomized by equol-producing phenotype, and data analysis was performed per substudy for equol producers and nonproducers separately. Results: Gene set enrichment analysis showed downregulation of expression of energy metabolism–related genes after LG supplementation (n = 24) in both equol-producing phenotypes and oppositely regulated expression for equol producers (down) and nonproducers (up) after HG supplementation (n = 31). Expression of inflammation-related genes was upregulated in equol producers but downregulated in nonproducers, independent of supplement type. Only 4.4–7.0% of the genes with significantly changed expression were estrogen responsive. Body weight, adipocyte size, and plasma lipid profile were not affected by isoflavone supplementation. Conclusions: Effects of isoflavones on adipose tissue gene expression were influenced by supplement composition and equol-producing phenotype, whereas estrogen-responsive effects were lacking. LG isoflavone supplementation resulted in a caloric restriction–like gene expression profile for both producer phenotypes and pointed toward a potential beneficial effect, whereas both supplements induced anti-inflammatory gene expression in equol producers.
- soy isoflavones
van der Velpen, V., Geelen, A., Hollman, P. C. H., Schouten, E. G., van 't Veer, P., & Afman, L. A. (2014). Isoflavone supplement composition and equol producer status affect gene expression in adipose tissue: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover trial in postmenopausal women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 100(5), 1269-1277. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.114.088484