Researchers have found that a compound in soybeans is effective in reducing the frequency and severity of hot flashes in menopausal women.
The findings, by scientists at at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), appear in the first 2008 issue of Menopause, and they show a 52 percent reduction in the number of hot flashes among patients who consumed a soy supplement without evidence of negative side effects.
The medical world is always seeking a safe and effective alternative to hormone therapy. Hormone therapy yields the best results in treating hot flashes, but its long-term use could increase the risk of certain medical disorders such as coronary heart disease or stroke. In this case, the study found that patients who consumed the soy supplement showed a reduction in the number of hot flashes without taking hormones.
About 75 percent of all menopausal women are affected by hot flashes which are marked by the sudden, intense, feeling of heat caused by a decline in estrogen levels. With evidence that hot flashes are often uncommon in countries where a lot of soybeans are consumed, the research team at BIDMC decided to test a compound found abundantly in soy germ.
Researchers studied 147 menopausal women who were divided into three groups and instructed to take one soft-gel soy capsule a day. They tested two different concentrations, 40 mg or 60 mg, and compared them to a group taking a placebo. After 12 weeks, hot flash frequency was reduced by 52 percent in the 40 mg group and 51percent in the 60 mg group. (This compares with 39 percent in the placebo group, a rather high % for a placebo).
This study was funded by a research grant from Nichimo Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan. The company makes the soy ingredient which is available in the US as the supplement Effisoy®.