Women naturally produce a small amount of testosterone and other sex hormones associated with men, but women with PCOS produce higher amounts of these hormones. PCOS creates a hormone imbalance that can lead to infertility, menstrual irregularities, weight gain, acne, hair loss, and facial or body hair growth.
If that isn’t enough, women with PCOS also face a higher risk of some serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.
In the current study, blood levels of different health risk indicators were measured before and after soy isoflavone supplementation. The results showed improvements in several lab values associated with health risks in women with PCOS.
Women taking soy isoflavone supplements tended to have lower levels of testosterone, triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood) and had signs of less insulin resistance. These results suggest women with PCOS who regularly consume soy isoflavones may have a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes, these researchers said.
This study, published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, was conducted over 12 weeks and involved 70 women with PCOS, with 35 women taking 50 milligrams a day of a soy isoflavone supplement and 35 women taking a placebo.
Researchers noted that the equivalent of 50 mg of soy isoflavones would be found in 500 milliliters of soy milk.
A limit of this study is the fact it was a small study. Talk to your doctor before any major changes in your diet or supplement habits.
Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Arak University of Medical Sciences and the government of Iran funded this research. No conflicts of interest were disclosed.