Erasing the Crow Feet With the Help of Soy Supplements

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A small pilot study has suggested that an experimental supplement derived from soy can help post-menopausal women smoothen out their “crow’s feet”.

The supplement, which is known for now as SE5-OH, is under experiment and development by a Tokyo-based drug and supplement maker, Otsuka Pharmaceutical. This supplement also contains a compound called S-equol, which is derived from a fermented soy germ.

The body can produce S-equol naturally, as a by-product of digesting soy isoflavones, which are plant chemicals that have a similar structure with that of estrogen. S-equol itself is believed to attach to estrogen receptors in body cells, and may also have estrogen like effects, but only weaker.

Our skin cells are one of those cells containing estrogen receptors, and it is thought that women’s waning estrogen levels after menopause may lead to skin aging and appearance of symptoms of skin aging.

In the recent study, researchers from the Japanese pharmaceutical company Otsuka looked into the chance of noticing improvements among post menopausal women who have been given S-equol supplements. The supplement is targeted at lessening crow’s feet appearance—lines which begin at the outer corner of the eye which sometimes appear during the middle age or even earlier.

Lead researcher Ayuko Oyama, and his team of researcher randomly assigned about 101 postmenopausal Japanese women to one of three clusters: one took a higher dose of the S-equol supplement (30 mg) everyday for three months, one took a lower dose (10 mg) and one took placebo tablets which contained starch.

There is an individual variation among people in the ability to produce S-equol by eating soy containing products. At least half of all individuals lack the necessary intestinal flora, which means these people are non-producers of S-equol. All women in the study were tested before being asked to partake in the study and were proven to be non-producers of S-equol naturally.

At the end of the study, the women who used the supplement exhibited on average, a decent improvement in their crow’s feet against the placebo group. This was judged by an evaluator who does not know which of the women received the supplements and which had taken the placebo.

“I think it’s a very interesting study,” said Dr. Carolyn Jacob, director of Chicago Cosmetic Surgery and Dermatology, and a fellow with the American Academy of Dermatology.

“It would have been helpful, if the researchers had taken skin biopsies to see if the supplement users actually showed changes in collagen — a protein that helps keep the skin firm and elastic.”

Jacobs said that the results are encouraging and that long term studies need to be done to look at the effects of the supplement as regards skin aging. Theoreticall, S-equol have been linked to some negative effects of estrogen like breast or uterine cancer. However, the research team found no effects on the women’s breast or uterine tissues, with the use of mammograms and ultrasounds.

 

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