The supplement was officially launched in the US at the end of October, and is marketed as a non-hormonal alternative to other common menopausal symptom alleviators.
It also taps into the consumer demand for products derived of naturally occurring compounds. “S-equol [is] a metabolite of the soy isoflavone daidzein, which can be naturally produced in the intestinal tract,” Erin Stokes, ND, medical director of the supplement’s distributor Innate Response, told NutraIngredients-USA.
However, only 27.6% of women in the US are able to convert the soy isoflavone daidzein to S-equol, putting the supplement Equelle in prime position to fill in a nutrition gap in the US.
“According to the US Census Bureau in 2014, there are 53 million women between the menopause ages of 40 and 64 in the United States—increasingly, these women are searching for complementary therapies to help alleviate menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and muscle discomfort,” Stokes said.
How S-equol works, and where it comes from
A study published in 2014 in the Journal of Women’s Health noted that, while S-equol has been investigated for more than four decades, “only more recently, with the discovery of the second estrogen receptor beta in 1996, has an important distinction between S-equol and endogenous estrogens been defined.”
Unlike the ingredient in many menopausal symptom medications, estradiol, which binds equally to estrogen receptors alpha and beta, s-equol binds preferentially to the latter, the study explained.
The S-equol found in Equelle is produced by fermentation using non-GMO soy germ patented by Otsuka Pharmaceutical. Equelle tablets are clear coated and free of gluten, diary, magnesium stearate and talc, with each tablet containing 5 mg of S-equol.
Going down the healthcare practitioner route
For its US market debut, Equelle will be available only through healthcare practitioners. “Many women seek guidance and education from their practitioner about the management of menopause symptoms,” Stokes said.
“Offering Equelle initially through the practitioner channel ensures that patients will have the opportunity to be educated about this groundbreaking new supplement,” she added.
“Given our commitment to supporting holistic healthcare professionals, and our position as a house brand of Emerson Ecologics, the brand’s exclusive distribution partner, INNATE Response, is uniquely qualified to meet this education and product demand.”