Soy and Hot Flashes

Iced Soy No-Whip White Chocolate Mocha
Creative Commons License photo credit: fuzzcat

One of the common remedies that has been recommended to women to help with hot flashes during menopause has been soy. However, there have been a number of studies that suggest soy does not help to reduce that feverish feeling so many women struggle with when transitioning into menopause.

A recent review of the research on soy and hot flashes, however, suggests that there may be some help after all.

The ingredient in Soy that is thought to help with hot flashes is the “isoflavones.” These compounds are suspected to have an effect similar to estrogen for some body tissue.

In 2011, there was a study of 248 women that showed no improvmenent in the symptoms of menopause after being given a soy supplement with isoflavones. This was just the most recent example of studies denying a link.

This new research, however, looked at the results of all 17 previous studies on the issue of soy and hot flashes. What they discovered was that:

  • Women given isoflavone soy extracts had a 21% lower incidence of hot flashes than women given a placebo.
  • Women who had the supplement tended to have less severe hot flashes than women who did not have the supplement.

Each study differed in how it measured results, but according to this recent research all of them suggest a pattern that shows isoflavones in soy working better than a placebo.

This could be good news for women entering menopause. A month’s worth of soy supplements can cost around $10, which is certainly worth the price if it works.

An alternative to hormone replacement therapy

The only method currently approved by the FDA for menopause symptom relief is hormone replacement therapy. Unfortunately, HRT is connected with a number of increased safety issues, including risks for stroke, blood clots, breast cancer, and heart attack.

Certainly, more research needs to be done on this important subject.

What has your experience been? Did you get hot flashes when you were approaching menopause? What did you do to help address them? What kinds of things work for you, and what didn’t work?

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