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Soy isoflavones attenuate bone loss in early postmenopausal Chinese women

Soy isoflavones attenuate bone loss in early postmenopausal Chinese women About one third of postmenopausal women experience osteoporosis or bone loss after menopause. It is estimated that about 5 percent of lumbar spine bone is lost during the first five years after menopause. The treatment with estrogen helps to prevent this bone loss but is not without risk. Woman who take estrogen therapy for a long period have a small increase in risk for breast cancer an for endometrial cancer.
Therefore, there is a need for alternative therapies without undesirable side effects. Previous clinical and epidemiological studies have shown that the intake of isoflavones by potsmenopausal women decreased their bone loss. Human studies using lower levels of isoflavones (around 40 mg per day) showed no significant effects, whereas studies using higher levels (around 80 mg per day) showed more favourable effects.

The aim of this study was to determine the bone-sparing effect of isoflavones at different doses in Chinese postmenopausal women. In total 90 women aged between 45 and 60 yers participated in this study and were divided it three groups: a placebo group and two groups consuming 84 mg and 126 mg soy isoflavones respectively. The bone mineral density was measured at the start of the study and after 6 months. The researchers measured bone mineral density and indicators of bone metabolism. They found significant does-dependent increase in bone mineral density of the neck and spine bones.

The study concluded that soy isoflavones significantly attenuate bone loss of the spine and femoral neck bones of postmenopausal Chinese women. The soy isoflavones probably work by inhibiting bone resorption. More long term studies are needed to confirm the optimal dose of isoflavones required to maintain bone mass.

Source: Soy isoflavones attenuate bone loss in early postmenopausal Chinese. Eur J Nutr. 2006 Jun 8.

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