Can Green Tea Increase Equol Production

Equol is a degradation product of the isoflavone daidzein. Daidzen is degraded to equol in the gut of humans under the influence of a number of bacteria. Current evidence suggests that equol may have health effects that include protection from certain cancers. Foods high in daidzein, the presence of particular bacteria in the gut, as well as genetic make-up may all influence how much equol is produced. In terms of dietary factors, foods may be able to influence equol production because they can supply daidzein, or because they alter the bacteria in the gut to a more favourable profile. Studies have suggested that one food that may be beneficial in this regard is green tea. For example, in one study, researchers assessed the diet of hospital patients and found that those with a greater ability to make equol had significantly higher levels of green tea in their diet. Of course, this does not prove cause and effect, and green tea drinkers may also make other changes to their diets that favour equol production, such as having lower sugar intakes. However, it is known that green tea can alter bacteria profiles in the gut microbiota and in this way may be able to favourably increase synthesis of equol. 

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Miyanaga, N., Akaza, H., Takashima, N., Nagata, Y., Sonoda, T., Mori, M., Naito, S., Hirao, Y., Tsukamoto, T. and Fujioka, T. 2003. Higher consumption of green tea may enhance equol production. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention. 4(4): 297-301

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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