Soy Protein is Good for Heart Health
Soy protein has been proven to be an effective tool in lowering risk for heart disease, the number one cause of death in the United States. When 25 grams or more are consumed as a part of a low fat and low cholesterol diet, soy protein can lower low density lipoprotein (LDL), bad cholesterol, by up to 10% which lowers the risk for heart disease by 20%. In 1999, the FDA approved the use of this health claim for use on food product labels containing a certain amount of soy protein. The controversy surrounding soy involves individual elements in soy that are taken in concentrated form.
Can Soy Protein Help With Hot Flashes?
The individual element in question in soy protein is called isoflavone. Isoflavones are natural chemical compounds that behave like estrogen in the body. They have been studied in association with the relief of hot flashes in post-menopausal women. Hot flashes are caused by a decrease in estrogen in the body during menopause. Hot flashes occur in 75% of post-menopausal women and can decrease their quality of life. Isoflavones are being studied for the treatment of hot flashes as an alternative to other treatments that are thought to increase the risk for breast cancer and heart disease.
A review of studies published in the Journal of North American Menopause Society suggested that earlier conclusions that isoflavones do not relieve hot flashes may be wrong. This study suggested that instead of conducting studies solely focused on whether isoflavones work to relieve hot flashes, future studies should focus on the ingredients in the isoflavone supplements. This particular review found that isoflavone supplements that contained mostly genistein did help to relieve hot flashes.
Another short-term study published in the journal found that isoflavones did in fact help relieve night sweats and hot flashes in post-menopausal women. The association between was discovered due to the fact that Asian women that ate soy protein had fewer and less severe post-menopausal symptoms than women that didn’t eat soy protein. Taking isoflavone to relieve menopausal symptoms has been studied in association with other factors such as body composition, cholesterol levels, and other heart disease risk factors.
For more information on the many clinical research studies on soy protein and isoflavone’s affect on hot flashes and night sweats, peruse the research studies using the links in the resource box below.
Phytoestrogen Supplements for the Treatment of Hot Flashes: The Isoflavone Clover Extract Study, Journal of the American Medical Association, July 2003
Isoflavone supplements containing predominantly genistein reduce hot flash symptoms: a critical review of published studies, Journal of North American Menopause Society, September/October 2006
Isoflavone treatment for acute menopausal symptoms, Journal of North American Menopausal Society, May/June 2007