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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 303-308

Nutritional Composition and Sensory Evaluation of Phytoestrogen-Rich Supplement for Women with PCOS

1 Sri Ramachandra Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Department of Clinical Nutrition, Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research (Deemed to be University), Chennai, India
2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research (Deemed to be University), Chennai, India

Date of Submission12-May-2021
Date of Decision26-Jul-2021
Date of Acceptance05-Jul-2021
Date of Web Publication26-Oct-2021

Correspondence Address:
V. Supriya
Research Supervisor, Assistant Professor, Sri Ramachandra Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Department of Clinical Nutrition, SRIHER, Chennai
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijnpnd.ijnpnd_29_21

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Background: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrinopathy in reproductive-aged women affecting up to 15% of the population and exhibiting ovulatory dysfunction, hyperandrogenism, obesity, and insulin resistance. Phytochemical like phytoestrogen helps alleviate the symptoms of PCOS without any adverse effects such as improvement in ovulation and regulation of blood glucose. Therefore, this study has developed a supplement enriched with phytoestrogen. Aim: The study was aimed at developing a phytoestrogen-rich supplement. Methods: The supplement was prepared under proper hygienic conditions. Organoleptic evaluation was done by a group of panel members. Microbial activity and nutrient composition were analyzed by standard methods such as mass spectrometry and high-performance liquid chromatography. Statistical analysis was done by Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software version 21. Result: The formulated supplement was statistically significant (P < 0.05). The microbial analysis showed that it was microbe free at the end of 30 days. The nutrient analysis concluded that phytoestrogens such as polyphenols and flavonoids, omega-3 fatty acid, irons, and fiber were present in adequate amounts. Conclusion: The present study revealed that the developed supplement is found to be rich in phytoestrogens and it can be effective for the treatment of PCOS.

Keywords: Analysis, phytoestrogen, polycystic ovary syndrome, supplements

How to cite this article:
Gayathri K, Supriya V, Palaniappan N. Nutritional Composition and Sensory Evaluation of Phytoestrogen-Rich Supplement for Women with PCOS. Int J Nutr Pharmacol Neurol Dis 2021;11:303-8

How to cite this URL:
Gayathri K, Supriya V, Palaniappan N. Nutritional Composition and Sensory Evaluation of Phytoestrogen-Rich Supplement for Women with PCOS. Int J Nutr Pharmacol Neurol Dis [serial online] 2021 [cited 2023 Feb 1];11:303-8. Available from:

   Introduction Top

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common gynecological endocrine disorder among reproductive-aged women up to 15% worldwide. The physiological manifestation of PCOS includes menstrual irregularities, hyperandrogenism, hirsutism, insulin resistance, and obesity. PCOS-related symptoms also worsen the patient’s quality of life through distressing psychiatric aspects. Recent studies have discovered that oxidative stress is determined as another causative factor in the development of PCOS and its paralleling symptoms such as increased androgen production and infertility. The etiology of PCOS still remains unclear.[1] Lifestyle behavioral changes such as dietary behavior, physical exercise, and stress can also be one of the etiologies of PCOS. In Asia, the prevalence rate of overweight, obesity and insulin resistance among PCOS subjects was stated as 61%, 44% and 70%.[2],[3]

Metformin, thiazolidinediones, and insulin-sensitizing agents are the medications used in the treatment of PCOS to decrease insulin resistance, androgen levels, inflammatory symptoms, and menstrual irregularity. On the other hand, many side effects have been reported for these drugs, such as nausea (61%), vomiting (30%), and diarrhea (65%).[4] Nutraceutical components like phytoestrogens help in alleviating the symptoms of PCOS without any harmful effects such as improving ovulation and reducing blood glucose. Phytoestrogens are a diverse group of nonsteroidal compounds produced by plants. The major classes of phytoestrogens are the isoflavones and lignans. Phytoestrogens are a nutritional component that mimics the structure and functions of estrogen.[5],[6]

In this study, the phytoestrogen-rich supplement was prepared by using underutilized ingredients such as flaxseed, fenugreek seed and nicker nuts. Phytoestrogens such as isoflavonoids, lignin, coumestrol, and quercetin are present in fenugreek seed (Trigonella foenum-graecum), which has antimalarial, antidiabetic, and galactogogue activities.[7] Flaxseeds contain phytoactive compounds like phenolic compounds and other natural antioxidants.[8] A research case study conducted on a 31-year-old woman with PCOS has exhibited reduced testosterone and increased insulin levels on treatment with flaxseeds (Linum usitatissimum).[9] Nicker nut (Caesalpinia bonduc) contains terpenoids, caesalpin, β-caesalpin, and α-caesalpin, which aid in removing cysts from the ovary and have lithotripsic action.[10]

The current study, therefore, aimed to formulate and evaluate a supplement rich in phytoestrogen by using underutilized, easily available, and affordable ingredients for women with PCOS. The phytoestrogen-rich ingredients were standardized and the supplement was developed to treat PCOS.

   Materials and Methods Top

Standardization has been done to explore whether the supplement was palatable or not. The supplement phytoestrogen-rich powder was prepared using standard and hygienic procedures. The phytoestrogen enriched supplement underwent organoleptic evaluation, microbial analysis, and nutrient analysis to recognize its palatability, shelf life, and nutrient composition.

Step 1: Procurement of raw materials

Ingredients such as flaxseeds, fenugreek seeds, and nicker nuts were selected in the ratio of 20:10:5. They were collected with the help of a botanist. Dhals such a red gram dhal (Cajanus cajan), Bengal gram dhal (Cicer arietinum), black gram dhal (Phaseolus mungo), and green gram dhal (Vigna radiata) and other ingredients such as black pepper (Piper nigrum) and salt were procured from nearby departmental store located in Chennai.

Step 2: Standardization of supplement

Standardization can be defined as the process of developing and implementing recipes using technical standards. A standardized recipe is the one that has been tried, adapted, and retried several times for use by a given food service operation and found to produce the same food to produce good results and yield every time when the exact procedures are used with the same quality and quantity of ingredients.[11] The standardization of the phytoestrogen-rich supplement was carried out using standard measures of ingredients in the Food Science Laboratory of Clinical Nutrition Department, SRIHER (DU) Chennai.

Step 3: Formulation of supplement

All the dry ingredients such as dhals, flaxseeds, fenugreek seeds, nicker nuts, and black pepper were roasted at 120°C for 10 to 15 minutes and grounded into a fine powder using an electronic blender. The powdered supplement was packed in laminated aluminum pouches. The supplement was prepared in three different proportions, namely, A1, A2, and A3. Standard dhal powder and the three different compositions of phytoestrogen-rich powder A1, A2, and A3 were given in [Table 1]. [Figure 1] shows the phytoestrogen-rich supplement (powder).
Table 1 Composition of standard dhal powder and phytoestrogen-rich powder

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Figure 1 Phytoestrogen-rich supplement

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Step 4: Organoleptic evaluation of supplement by panel members

Quality is the ultimate criterion of the desirability of any food product. Food quality can be evaluated by organoleptic methods. Organoleptic quality is a combination of different senses of a perception coming into play in choosing food. Appearance, flavor, texture, and mouth feel decide the acceptance of the food.[11] Sensory characteristics of the developed supplement and standard were evaluated for different sensory attributes by a group of 20 semi-trained panelists using 9-point hedonic scale. Different compositions of the supplement were coded as A1, A2, and A3 to avoid any preassumptions. Sensory attributes included color, appearance, taste, texture, flavor, and overall acceptability. The semi-trained panel members were healthy and free from diseases. A scorecard consisting of preference rating from extremely liked to extremely disliked with the given instructions was given to the panel members for the assessment of their likeliness and preferences. The fresh supplements were served to the panelists in odorless containers with a glass of water for rinsing the mouth in between the samples. The scores received were statistically analyzed by measures of analysis of variance (ANOVA).

Step 5: Organoleptic evaluation of supplement by consumers

Sensory characteristics of the developed supplement (phytoestrogen-rich powder) and standard supplement (dhal powder) were evaluated by a group of 30 common (public) consumers using 9-point hedonic scale. Consent was obtained from consumers prior to sensory evaluation.

Step 6: Assessment of shelf life

The developed supplement was stored in an airtight container at different temperatures 15°C, 25°C, and 37°C for 30 days to analyze the shelf life of the products as food is the excellent medium for the growth of microbes, which cause food-borne disease (WHO). Microbiological and aseptic testing plays an important role in the assurance of food quality and safety. The presence of three pathogens Salmonella, Escherichia coli, and Staphylococcus aureus were verified in the formulated supplement.[12]

Step 7: Assessment of nutrient composition

The supplement was subjected to nutrient analysis such as macronutrient, micronutrient, and phytoestrogens. Nutrient analysis was done by using triplicate measurements of each nutrient. These nutrients were analyzed using the standard procedure of Association of Official Analytical Collaboration (2016).

Human research

The study has been approved by Institutional Ethical Committee of SRIHER. The reference number is IEC/19/AUG/153/54.

Statistical methods

One‐way ANOVA was used to analyze the significance between the various measurements used in the hedonic scale. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software version 21 was applied for the study.

   Results Top

The results of the present study to develop, formulate, and standardize the supplement enriched with phytoestrogen to treat women with PCOS are given next.

Organoleptic evaluation of the supplement

The hedonic rating test is used to measure the consumer acceptability of food products. The different scores of the standard and various compositions of the supplement were shown in [Figure 2], and it observed that the sample A1 scored highest in attributes of appearance, color, flavor, texture, taste, and overall acceptability. The product was accepted well, with a total score of 265. Comments received for samples through organoleptic evaluation stated that A1 was recognized as best compared to other variants. A1 was palatable and tasted good, whereas A2 and A3 were bitter in taste and found not palatable. The mean and standard deviation of the developed supplement and standard supplement is given in [Table 2]. One‐way ANOVA was used to analyze the significance between the various measurements used in the hedonic scale and it was found that the developed supplement was statistically significant (P < 0.005).
Figure 2 Different scores of the standard supplement and various composition of the phytoestrogen-rich supplement

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Table 2 Statistical analysis of standard and developed supplement

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Microbial analysis of phytoestrogen-rich powder

The supplement was cultured and analyzed as per the Indian Standard for the identification of E. coli, S. aureus (IS 5887: 1976), and Salmonella bacteria (IS 5887:1996). A freshly prepared supplement was evaluated for the microbial load before packaging and storing. The result is highlighted in [Table 3], and it indicated that the supplement did not catch salmonella organism and very minimal E. coli [<10 Colony Forming Unit (CFU)/g] and S. aureus (< 10 CFU/g) was existent. As per the standard guideline limits, the pathogenic load of phytoestrogen-rich supplement was found to be below detectable limits, and hence the supplement was microbiologically safe to ingest.
Table 3 Microbial analysis of phytoestrogen-rich powder

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Nutrient analysis of phytoestrogen-rich powder

Macronutrient analysis

Carbohydrates, protein, and fat were estimated using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). HPLC technique is emerging in the food industry to analyze and separate protein, vitamins, amino acids, phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and contaminants.[13] The current study has utilized HPLC to analyze the protein, vitamins, and flavonoids present in the phytoestrogen-rich powder. The formulated supplement was subjected to macronutrient analysis such as moisture, energy, protein, fat, and carbohydrates. The macronutrient content of the phytoestrogen-rich powder is presented in [Table 4]. It was reported that the supplement was found to be energy dense and protein rich. The moisture content of the supplement was less. The presence of fatty acids was analyzed via mass spectrophotometry. Mass spectrometry technology is employed to address health, sensory as well as quality, and safety aspects of food. It is an essential analytical platform in modern nutrition research.[14]
Table 4 Nutrient composition of phytoestrogen-rich powder and comparison with RDA

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Micronutrient analysis

Vitamins A and E were analyzed using HPLC technique. Vitamin and minerals such as vitamins A and E, iron, calcium, and selenium were analyzed and highlighted in [Table 4]. The data showed the supplement was rich in vitamin A, iron, and selenium.

Phytoestrogen analysis

The main aim of the study was to formulate supplement enriched with phytoestrogens to treat PCOS. Hence, the phytoestrogens such as polyphenols and flavonoids were analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and HPLC techniques. Results are given in [Table 4]. The data concluded that the supplement phytoestrogen-rich powder was rich in polyphenols and flavonoids.

Recommended dietary allowances comparison

The nutrient content of the supplement was compared with Recommended Dietary Allowances for adult women and given in [Table 4]. [Table 4] shows that the formulated supplement is an energy dense food should be provided to prevent negative energy balance. It provides 422 kcal and meets 22% of energy requirement per day for adult women. It contains 22.5 g of protein and 5.9 mg of iron. It also contains 123 mg of polyphenols and 56 mg flavonoids, which are phytoestrogens. Meta-analysis of Dietary Reference Intake value for dietary polyphenols shows that the individual who consumes 5-a-days “5a” refers as (Flavanones, Flavonols, Flavones, Procyanidins and Anthocyanin) could take >500 mg of polyphenols per day.[15] Many of the studies have not focused on the upper limits for the consumption of dietary polyphenols.

   Discussion Top

The phytoestrogen present in the supplement was known to regulate menstrual irregularities, stimulate insulin secretion, and decrease blood glucose level. It is enriched with polyphenols and flavonoids; hence, it can be used in the treatment of menstrual dysfunction. It contains a good amount of omega-3 fatty acid, which is believed to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. Phytoestrogen-rich powder is found to be rich in iron and selenium content; therefore, it can be used for the treatment of anemia, menstrual irregularities, and oxidative stress. Underutilized ingredients such as nicker nuts have been widely used in the Siddha and Ayurveda medicinal system for the treatment of PCOS in women. Research conducted on rats revealed that the ethanolic extract of nicker nuts could improve insulin resistance and hyperandrogenism; consequently, it promotes ovulation in the treatment of PCOS.[16]

The overall acceptability of phytoestrogen-rich powder (A1) was graded by using a hedonic scale of 9-point, that is, like it very much. It is composed of nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, vitamin A, polyphenols, and flavonoids in high amounts and adequate amounts of selenium, protein, carbohydrate, fiber, iron, and vitamin E. This nutrient composition makes the supplement ideal for the treatment of PCOS. Hence, it can be used for the treatment of polycystic ovarian syndrome and diabetes mellitus.

Previous studies have reported that the grounded flaxseed powder could be added to any baked product such as muffins, cookies, and snack bars in order to induce the flavor. U.S. Food and Drug Administration has suggested that the administration of flaxseeds is up to 12% in foods.[9] Another study conducted on female rats indicated that the aqueous extract of fenugreek seeds has a positive effect against insulin resistance, serum glucose, lipid profile, liver function, reproductive hormones, and oxidative stress.[17] Fewer studies have reported that the nicker nuts, leaves, or seeds and seed kernel possess antipyretic, antidiuretic, antibacterial, antiviral, antiestrogenic, and antidiabetic activities.[18]

   Conclusion Top

The present study has developed three variant compositions of phytoestrogen-rich powder. Out of the three variations, the first one (A1) was observed to be having good attributes, such as color, texture, flavor, taste, and overall acceptability was really good with high amounts of phytoestrogens. Hence, the current study provides evidence that the developed phytoestrogen-rich supplement can be utilized for the treatment of PCOS. It provides health benefits such as menstrual regulation, reducing weight, normalizing the blood glucose level, and reducing oxidative stress.


The first author is thankful to the corresponding author and co-author for their enormous support to carry forward the study and thankful to the Department of Clinical Nutrition, Sri Ramachandra Faculty of Allied Health Sciences SRIHER for providing laboratory facilities.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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Diamanti-Kandarakis E, Dunaif A. Insulin resistance and the polycystic ovary syndrome revisited: an update on mechanisms and implications. Endocr Rev 2012;33:981-1030.  Back to cited text no. 3
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  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]


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