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Soy isoflavones relieve menopausal symptoms

Estrogen replacement therapy is used to relief menopausal symptoms, but is linked with increased cancer risk and other side effects. There is a need to find alternative natural therapies without these risks. Daily intake of soy isoflavones significantly reduces menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women and may also help prevent cardiovascular disease, according to a report published in the March 2002 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Because soy isoflavones exert both estrogenic and anti-estrogenic effects depending on the target tissue, their use may not predispose to endometrial cancer as estrogen replacement therapy does.
Researchers from the Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, randomized 80 postmenopausal women with climacteric symptoms to receive placebo or 100 mg of soy isoflavone daily for 4 months. Isoflavone-treated women experienced a significant improvement in menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, relative to baseline scores and to improvements in the placebo group, the investigators state. Treatment with isoflavone was linked to a significant reduction in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels compared with baseline and the placebo group, but had no effect on blood pressure, plasma glucose, HDL cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels. Transvaginal sonography revealed that isoflavone therapy was not associated with an increase in endometrial thickness.

The authors concluded that a treatment with 100 mg soy isoflavones daily may be a safe and effective alternative therapy for postmenopausal symptoms. An additional benefit is a decrease in LDL cholesterol levels, which suggests a positive effect on heart health.

Source: Benefits of soy isoflavone therapeutic regimen on menopausal symptoms. Obstet Gynecol. 2002 Mar;99(3):389-94.

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