A metabolite produced in the gut from consuming soy products known as equol may reduce the risk for dementia, according to a study published in Alzheimer's & Dementia. Researchers examined brain magnetic resonance imaging for white matter lesions associated with cognitive disease in 91 elderly participants and tracked serum equol levels. Those who produced more equol from dietary soy products had 50% fewer white matter lesions than those with lower equol levels. Japanese populations have more gut microbiota well-suited to produce soy metabolites, compared to Americans, due to higher consumption of dietary soy. Equol may improve dementia risk by improving arterial stiffness associated with white matter lesions in increased mitochondria function later in life.
Sekikawa A, Higashiyama A, Lopresti BJ, et al. Associations of equol-producing status with white matter lesion and amyloid-β deposition in cognitively normal elderly Japanese. Alzheimer’s Dement. 2020;6:e12089-e12098.