Do Soy-Containing Dietary Supplements Relieve Menopausal Symptoms?

Do Soy-Containing Dietary Supplements Relieve Menopausal Symptoms?

A recent study published in the journal, Menopause, reviewed the effectiveness of soy-containing dietary supplements on relieving vasomotor symptoms of menopause including hot flashes.  Soy beans contain isoflavones which are phytoestrogens.  Phytoestrogens are believed to have an important role in controlling some symptoms of menopause.

Menopause marks a significant transition in a woman’s life, signifying the end of her menstrual cycles. Typically occurring in a woman’s late 40s to early 50s, menopause is a natural biological process, but the physical and emotional symptoms can disrupt daily life and ignite a range of feelings. Understanding these symptoms is crucial for navigating this phase with greater ease and confidence.

Common Symptoms of Menopause

The journey into menopause is unique for every woman, but there are several common symptoms that many experience:

  1. Hot Flashes: Perhaps the most well-known symptom, hot flashes are sudden feelings of heat that seem to come from nowhere and spread throughout the body. You might also experience sweating and redness of the skin during a hot flash.
  2. Night Sweats and Sleep Problems: Many women experience night sweats, which are essentially hot flashes that occur at night, potentially leading to disturbances in sleep.
  3. Vaginal Dryness: Decreased estrogen levels can lead to vaginal dryness, causing discomfort during sex along with itching and irritation.
  4. Mood Changes: Menopause can trigger mood swings, irritability, and increased risk of depression. These emotional changes are often attributed to hormonal adjustments, compounded by sleep disturbance.
  5. Irregular Periods: One of the earliest signs of menopause is a change in your menstrual cycle. Periods may become irregular before they completely stop.
  6. Chills: Just as hot flashes are common, some women may experience chills or cold flashes.
  7. Weight Gain and Slowed Metabolism: Many women experience weight gain and changes in their body shape and metabolism.
  8. Thinning Hair and Dry Skin: Hormonal changes can lead to reduced moisture in the skin and hair, causing them to become dry and thin.
  9. Loss of Breast Fullness: Hormonal shifts can cause a decrease in breast fullness.
  10. Decreased Libido: The hormonal changes of menopause can also lead to a decreased sex drive.

Other Sources of Isoflavones or Phytoestrogens:

  • Trifolium pratense (Red Clover)
  • Cimicifuga racemosa (Black Cohosh)
  • Angelica sinensis (Dong Quai)

[box type=”note”]However, these sources of phytoestrogens differ in their composition of isoflavones which basically means that they have different effectiveness potential at relieving menopausal symptoms.[/box]

For this particular review, they included data from previous published research studies involving soy as a dietary supplement, extract, or concentrate for a minimum duration of 12-weeks.

[box type=”note”]Note: Dose: ranged from 33mg/d to 134 mg/d from the studies included in this review.[/box]

Study Background:

Phytoestrogens have accumulated sufficient evidence to endorse its alternative use in handling climacteric vasomotor symptoms, and such benefit seems to be supported on its isoflavone content.

Study Conclusions:

Although the overall combined results and the results by subgroups (according to the type of supplement used) showed a significant tendency in favor of soy, it is still difficult to establish conclusive results given the high heterogeneity found in the studies.

Overall, this review which included data from 19 studies found some evidence for the effectiveness of soy phytoestrogens at relieving vasomotor symptoms of menopause.  However, there was some heterogeneity in these results which is probably due to differences in doses or types of soy supplementation used in these studies.

Other Natural Remedies for Menopause:

  1. Black Cohosh
  2. Siberian Ginseng
  3. SupHerb Phytofemale complex (contains red clover)


  1. Bolaños R, Del Castillo A, Francia J.  Soy isoflavones versus placebo in the treatment of climacteric vasomotor symptoms: systematic review and meta-analysis.  Menopause. 2010 May-Jun;17(3):660-6.
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