Of the many things that soy is known to help with, menopausal symptoms tend to top the list. The reason is that soy contains isoflavones, which mimic estrogen in the body. Let’s take a look at the evidence.
First, why don’t we take a step back and talk about where you find soy. The way a soy product is manufactured will affect its nutrient count. Read the labels, find the ones highest in isoflavones. Here are some typical soy products available:
— Soy sauce
— Soy cheese
— Soy flakes
— Texturized vegetable protein
— Soy yogurt
— Soy flour
— Alternative meat products
Ever since the risks of hormone replacement therapy (e.g.stroke, deep vein thrombosis) were widely publicized, more and more women in the postmenopausal age have been exploring alternative treatment with herbs and dietary supplements — in particular, soy products. Here are some of the positive findings in this area:
— A 12-week study found that 60 grams (g) of soy powder a day reduced the number of hot flashes.
— A 12-week study using 45 g of soy found that it helped women improve the rate of hot flashes they experienced.
— Another 12-week study with 50 milligrams (mg) of soy isoflavone extracts found another positive trend.
— A 16-week study with four “Phytosoya” supplements a day found that hot flashes reduced 66% versus 34% in placebo.
In the above studies, daily intake of 10 g to 15 g of soy protein or 50 mg of isoflavones (range 30 to 100 mg) per day may be needed to treat menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes.
When considering the use of soy products for menopausal problems, you need to keep in mind some of the benefits of soy products not shared by hormone replacement therapy. For one, there is no increase in endometrial cell proliferation, thus no increase in endometrial cancer. No increase may even a decrease in triglycerides. Also, no increase may even a decrease clot formation thus preventing arteriosclerosis.