Soy May Help Menopausal Joy

Menopause symptoms may be helped with S equol and an estrogen beta receptor

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) A woman going through menopause often tweaks her diet in little ways to stave off symptoms. Less sodas and coffee are some of the tricks of the trade. Is adding soy okay?

A recent study review from The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) supports the use of soy protein to treat symptoms of menopause but recommends further research is needed to determine the risks and benefits of using soy to treat heart disease.

"Soy may help minimize symptoms of menopause."

Belinda H. Jenks, Ph.D., director of Scientific Affairs & Nutrition Education at Pharmavite LLC. Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Explains that physicians are still hesitant to recommend soy supplements to treat menopausal symptoms. She and fellow researchers felt an exhausting review of current studies about soy was in order.

Hopefully, physicians will use this information to better inform them about soy use in menopausal symptoms.

S-equol is a chemical compound that results when certain may be produced in the digestive tract after eating soy products. It has ability to bind with an estrogen beta receptor, just like naturally occurring estrogen and causes menopause symptoms to diminished.

However, not all women's bodies have the type of bacteria needed for proucing S-equol from soy based food or supplements. Only 20 to 30 percent of Europeans and Americans can produce S-equol with soy.

Studies have documented a supplement that has Natural S-equol in it reduces frequency of hot flashes and muscle discomfort in a majority of women in the United States.

Some cultures who consume more soy products have less incidence of breast cancer. NAMS report concludes it is reasonable to enhance your diet with soy, but some rodent and lab studies have indicated a potential risk for women who have had breast cancer.

The authors of this report encourage further research on soy for middle-aged women including bacteria studies and younger women. A thorough examination of supplements containing soy also needs to be documented. 

Any woman suffering with symptoms of menopause should consult with her physician before starting any soy based supplement.

This study review is published in the July 2011 edition of the peer-reviewed NAMS journal, Menopause.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 30, 2011
Last Updated:
September 1, 2011