A new nonprescription, nonhormonal supplement that aims to alleviate the frequency of hot flashes and muscle aches associated with menopause, was launched today.1

The supplement (Equelle, Pharmavite) relies on S-equol, an intestinal bacterial metabolite of the soybean isoflavone daidzein2 that binds to select estrogen receptors in the body. With this bond, S-equol helps alleviate hot flashes and muscle aches associated with menopause.

This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, according to Pharmavite.1

"Thousands of women suffer from menopause symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, sleep issues, mood changes, vaginal dryness, muscle aches and so much more," said Tara Allmen, MD, Board Certified Gynecologist and Author of Menopause Confidential, in a prepared statement.1 

The manufacturer recommends 2 tablets of taken twice daily with a glass of water to help alleviate these symptoms of menopause. A 1-month supply retails online for $39.95.1 

"We are pleased to launch Equelle here in the US, after a proven track record in Japan, to address the real needs of women," said Dr Susan Hazels Mitmesser, Vice President of Science and Technology, in a prepared statement.1 "We are committed to providing women with nutritional solutions backed by scientific research to help them feel their best during this time of transition."

According to the manufacturer, which also produces Nature Made vitamins, the S-equol supplement has clinical data to support its efficacy and safety, but Pharmavite's claim that the product relieves symptoms of menopause has not been evaluated by the FDA. The clinical studies showed that there were no major adverse events reported, and the active ingredient is affirmed safe in both food and drug supplements, according to the company.1

A US study evaluating hot flashes found symptoms were significantly reduced by S-equol, but the study lacked a placebo group. However, it did include a positive control. The results of this study, published in the Journal of Women's Health, suggested that equol producers are more likely to benefit from soy food consumption than nonproducers with respect to both cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, although the data are inconsistent.2 

According to the US study, the limited safety data for S-equol do not suggest cause for concern, but further studies are needed before definitive conclusions of its effectiveness on vasomotor symptoms commonly associated with menopause.2 

Menopause can take up to 7 years. It starts with perimenopause as estrogen production begins to decline and periods become irregular. Once a woman has gone a whole year without a menstrual cycle, she has officially hit menopause.1

Approximately 6000 women in the US reach menopause each day and about 85% of women experience some kind of bothersome symptoms. Hot flashes are the most common menopause symptom and are the second most common in perimenopause with 75% of women in the US experiencing this symptom.1


References
  1. Introducing EQUELLE®: A New Non-Hormonal Supplement for Menopause Symptom Relief [news release]. West Hill, CA; April 11, 2019: Pharmavite. https://prnmedia.prnewswire.com/news-releases/introducing-equelle-a-new-non-hormonal-supplement-for-menopause-symptom-relief-300830024.html. Accessed April 11, 2019.
  2. Utian WH, Jones M, Setchell KD. S-equol: a potential nonhormonal agent for menopause-related symptom relief. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2015 Mar;24(3):200-8. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2014.5006. Epub 2015 Feb 18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25692726. Accessed April 11, 2019.