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Scientists became very interested in soy’s potential role for reducing hot flashes after demographic studies revealed that only about 10 – 20% of women living in Asia, where the diet is rich in soy, experienced hot flashes during mid-life. This is in marked contrast to the approximately 80 – 90% of Western women who experience hot flashes. Research over the last 20 years or more has suggested that soy can help relieve mild common discomforts associated with menopause.
A new menopause research study  compared the effectiveness of a soy shake or a placebo on menopausal discomforts in 60 Brazilian women between the ages of 40-60 years and had become postmenopausal. The soy shake used in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was given in two portions per day and provided a total of 24 grams of protein and 90 milligrams of isoflavones (53 milligrams in aglycone equivalents). Study volunteers received the placebo or shake daily for 16 weeks. Changes in somatic (e.g. hot flashes) menopause discomforts were measured with the Menopause Rating Scale at the beginning and end of the study. The study investigators reported that:
- Improvements were observed in hot flashes in all groups of postmenopausal women; however, improvements were substantially greater in the soy shake group (about 50%) compared to the placebo group (about 30%).
This new menopause research study continues to confirm the possible benefits of dietary soy for the relief of mild common discomforts associated with the natural progression through menopause.* This new research study, as well as previous research, supports the role of soy protein for the relief of common menopausal discomforts, including hot flashes. Of course, involve your own doctor on how to manage your midlife transition with prescription medications, dietary supplements, and lifestyle changes.
1. Carmignani LO, Pedro AO, Costa-Paiva LH, Pinto-Neto AM. The effect of dietary soy supplementation compared to estrogen and placebo on menopausal symptoms: a randomized controlled trial. Maturitas 2010; doi: 10.10106/j.maturitas.2010.07.007