Soy pills don’t help menopausal symptoms, study shows

Consumer Reports News: August 08, 2011 05:09 PM

Soy isoflavone supplementation didn’t reduce menopausal symptoms such as bone loss, but was linked with an increase in hot flashes, according to a small study published today in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

In the randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial, 248 postmenopausal women age 45 to 60 who had no evidence of osteoporosis received either 200 milligrams of soy isoflavone supplementation per day or a daily placebo.

During two years of follow-up, researchers from the University of Miami and elsewhere found no significant differences in the prevention of bone loss, night sweats, insomnia, loss of libido, or vaginal dryness in either group. But 48 percent of women in the soy group reported hot flashes, compared with 32 percent of those in the placebo group.

An accompanying editorial notes that only 248 of an expected 306 participants were enrolled and far more participants dropped out than was predicted. Even so, "given the virtually identical results in the two groups, it is difficult to imagine that the results would have differed substantially with additional participants or better retention."

Bottom line: Soy isoflavone supplements didn’t reduce menopausal symptoms even though the highest amounts of soy supplements yet tested in a controlled trial were used.

Soy Isoflavones in the Prevention of Menopausal Bone Loss and Menopausal Symptoms [Archives of Internal Medicine study]

Soy Isoflavones for Prevention of Menopausal Bone Loss and Vasomotor Symptoms [Archives of Internal Medicine editorial]

Doug Podolsky

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