Related Topics: Menopause, News, Nutrition

The Soy Debate – It’s Not All The Same

The debate continues over whether soy is useful for menopausal women or not. This update provides more information to help you make an informed decision.

AnnA Rushton

As an update to the ongoing soy debate, it seems that soy supplements as used in a recent study are not helpful for menopausal symptoms and bone density, but the effects of fermented soy may be very different.

A recent double-blind study of 102 US women showed that eight weeks of daily consumption of a fermented soy product containing natural equol (made by the fermentation of whole soy germ) reduced the frequency of moderate to severe hot flushes, and muscle discomfort. It was also shown to be superior in its effects to the consumption of a soya isoflavone supplement.

In addition, it was found, via a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, to inhibit bone breakdown and prevent bone mineral density loss in Japanese women. No serious adverse events were reported in any of the studies. The results of these studies were presented at the North American Menopause Society Annual meeting.

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jr | 4:35 pm, August 11th, 2011

Sorry correction in 2nd sentence. Should read “SAME effects” not “DIFFERENT effects.: 🙂

jr | 4:33 pm, August 11th, 2011

Agree. It is just plain wrong to assume isoflavone pills are going to have different effects than food forms of soy. Same holds true for multivitamin supplements, which have not been proven helpful whatsoever. It’s also far easier to overdose on pills than it is with food. Obviously, you stop eating when you’re full.

But as far the recent trial with isoflavone pills and menopause, it is kind of not surprising that hot flashes may have been worse, as isoflavones are weak estrogens and high doses may be having a tamoxifen-like effect in blocking receptors. But of course, this *could* be good for lowering breast cancer risk, although that needs to be studied. Again though, anyone is better off EATING isoflavones than swallowing high dose pills.

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