A biochanin-enriched isoflavone from red clover lowers LDL cholesterol in men

Author: Nestel P et al.
Publication: Eur J Clin Nutr. 2004 Mar;58(3):403-8.

This study was sponsored by Novogen Ltd, North Ryde NSW, Australia. The aim of the study was to determine the effect of red clover isoflavones, biochanin (genistein precursor) and formononetin (daidzein precursor), on low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

Use was made of a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. A total of 46 middle-aged men and 34 postmenopausal women took part in the study. Each group received in crossover design 40 mg red clover isoflavones, either biochanin or formononetin, or a placebo during 6 weeks.

After that period the concentrations of plasma lipids were determined. The baseline low-density lipoprotein cholesterol did not differ significantly between men and women, nor between the groups who took biochanin or formononetin. Only the group who took biochanin showed a significant effect on low-density lipoprotein cholesterol . The biochanin effect was confined to men (median low-density lipoprotein cholesterol was 3.61 mmol/l with men who took biochanin and 3.99 mmol/l for placebo group) Women failed to respond significantly to treatment. It can be concluded that isoflavones from red clover enriched in biochanin but not in formononetin lowered low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in men.