Abstract The isoflavones genistein and daidzein and the daidzein metabolite equol have been reported to interact with estrogen receptors (ERs). Some studies indicate that they behave clinically like estrogen in some estrogen-deficiency diseases. However, the detailed molecular mechanism used by these compounds to create beneficial effects in patients with estrogen-related diseases has not been clarified. Using histone acetyltransferase (HAT) assay, we found that equol, genistein, and AglyMax had significant effects on ERα-mediated histone acetylation. Although 17β-estradiol (E2)-dependent HAT activity of steroid receptor coactivators 2 (SRC2) and p300 mediated by ERβ could be detected, it was weaker than that mediated by ERα. Equol, genistein, AglyMax, and daidzein all markedly stimulated ERβ-mediated histone acetylation. On the other hand, anti-estrogenic compounds ICI 182,780 (ICI) and tamoxifen (TA) did not have an effect on HAT activity mediated by either ERα or ERβ. Our data indicate that estrogenic ligands exert their effects by elevating histone acetylation and coactivator activity of ER, and suggest that the risk of estrogen-related diseases might be reduced by a sufficient amount of genistein or AglyMax supplements.