Isoflavones and menopause
A lot of research is being conducted to investigate possible health benefits of soy isoflavones with woman that are experiencing menopause
. During pre-menopause, women experience fluctuations in estrogen levels which can cause uncomfortable symptoms. The hormonal changes that occur during menopause can cause an increased risk for heart disease and osteoporosis in addition to a variety of symptoms such as hot flushes
, night sweats, insomnia, fatigue and vaginal dryness. Changes in estrogen levels have wide-ranging effects throughout the body. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is often prescribed to reduce the negative health effects of menopause. More and more women do not want to take HRT because of the possible increased risk for breast cancer. Do soyfoods provide the same kinds of health benefits as HRT, without the risk for breast cancer? Scientists do not have the answer yet, but evidence is accumulating for several health benefits of soy.
Effect of soy isoflavones
A cross-cultural study of menopause found that women in Japan rarely reported the symptoms of pre-menopause which are common in the West. Post-menopausal Japanese women also have lower rates of osteoporosis and heart disease, and a longer life expectancy. Since each woman reacts differently to soy, woman should try for themselves to see if incorporating soy into their diets will reduce the symptoms. Many doctors are recommending soy to their patients not only to relieve hot flushes but also to help reduce the cholesterol and to control weight gain.
Which soy products work best?
Because isoflavones are the active component in soy which helps reduce menopausal symptoms, the best soy products are those with the highest amounts of isoflavones like whole soybean, soy flour, soynuts and tempeh.