Isoflavones are metabolized by components of the gut microbiota and can also modulate their composition and/or activity. This study aimed to analyze the modifications of the fecal microbial populations and their metabolites in menopausal women under dietary treatment with soy isoflavones for one month. Based on the level of urinary equol, the women had been stratified previously as equol-producers ( = 3) or as equol non-producers ( = 5). The composition of the fecal microbiota was assessed by high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons and the changes in fatty acid excretion in feces were analyzed by gas chromatography. A greater proportion of sequence reads of the genus was detected after isoflavone supplementation. Sequences of members of the family and the genus were significantly increased in samples from equol-producing women. Multivariable analysis showed that, after isoflavone treatment, the fecal microbial communities of equol producers were more like each other. Isoflavone supplementation increased the production of caproic acid, suggesting differential microbial activity, leading to a high fecal excretion of this compound. However, differences between equol producers and non-producers were not scored. These results may contribute to characterizing the modulating effect of isoflavones on the gut microbiota, which could lead to unravelling of their beneficial health effects.
About The Expert
M Andrea Azcárate-Peril