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.

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)

Reference:

  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.

2 thoughts on “Do Soy-Containing Dietary Supplements Relieve Menopausal Symptoms?

  1. One expert agreed that the benefit of alternative therapy to relieve menopausal symptoms is largely a placebo effect.

  2. @Ted, did you read the article?

    I personally take a combination of Siberian Ginseng and a dietary soy supplement to manage my hot flashes.

    I am concerned about the potential liver damage from taking black cohosh, so I have avoided that supplement.

    I have to say that the combination of Ginseng and the dietary soy product seems to be working quite well for me. I’ve taken both for the past six months.

    Great article to see that there’s at least some evidence that these products work! Thanks Dr. Morrow.

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