By: Red Hot Mamas
Published: May 26, 2010
In recent years, many women have chosen to avoid prescription medications all together to treat their hot flashes. In general, they work for many women but none work for all. Among the most commonly used and most studied OTC treatments for hot flashes is soy.
Soy is not only an excellent food high in protein, and rich in calcium and many important vitamins, but supplements of a major ingredient in soy, called isoflavones, have been well studied for reducing hot flashes. Usually dosages of 50 mg/day can be helpful. Women who take soy can expect a reduction in hot flash frequency and intensity of between 35 to 50% over a two to four week period. It may not be perfect, but can be enough to allow you to sleep the night. Not every study shows a strong benefit and If you have just come off estrogen, soy or no other supplement is going to be as effective.
While soy is not a replacement for prescription medication, fourteen clinical trials have shown that soy can help you manage midlife by reducing hot flashes and other common symptoms of menopause.(1-10) Soy consumption has been shown to significantly improve a woman’s comfort and health during perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause. A recent medical review in American Family Physician (the journal of American Association of Family Physicians) states that, “Soy has been found to significantly reduce the incidence of hot flashes associated with menopause.” (6)
Scientists became very interested in soy’s potential role for menopause support after demographic studies revealed that only 9% of women living in Asia, where the diet is rich in soy, experienced hot flashes during midlife, in contrast to almost 80-90% of Western women who suffer through menopause.
Many scientists feel that soy isoflavones, which are similar to the body’s estrogen in structure, may support health by lightly binding to estrogen receptors, thus, producing some of the benefits of estrogen without negative side effects.
Because soy may support menopause, energy, bone and heart health, many doctors now recommend soy as a safe, effective dietary supplement to help women support a healthy midlife transition and beyond.
Preliminary Results From a Revival Soy Study
Initial results from a menopausal symptom reduction study using Revival Soy at a leading medical hospital are very positive. Participants experienced significant decreases in frequency and intensity of hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue and other menopausal symptoms after 6 weeks of daily Revival Soy use (one serving per day). Based on these initial results, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded a $1.05 million grant to the researchers to confirm the results in a larger study that is presently underway.
If you decide to use a supplement like soy for hot flashes, be sure and discuss it with your doctor to avoid any interactions from other medications you might be taking. Remember, good hydration by drinking lots of water, and exercise also helps reduce hot flashes. Have real expectations. Your hot flashes might not go away, but many times they will improve enough to get a good night sleep. And that will make everything seem a little better.
- Obstetrics & Gynecology 1998 Jan;91(1):6-11. The effect of dietary soy supplementation on hot flushes. Albertazzi P, et al.
- Soy Isoflavones Decrease Hot-Flash Frequency: A Meta-Analysis of Studies Examining Soy Protein, Soyfood, and Soy Isoflavones. M. Kurzer, et al.
- 5th International Symposium on the Role of Soy in Preventing and Treating Chronic Disease, Sept. 21-24th, 2003. Orlando, FL. Menopause 2000 Mar-Apr;7(2):105-11. Clinical effects of a standardized soy extract in postmenopausal women: a pilot study.Scambia G, et al.
- Obstetrics & Gynecology 2002 Mar;99(3):389-94. Benefits of soy isoflavones therapeutic regimen on menopausal symptoms. Han KK, et al.
- Menopause 2002 Sep-Oct;9(5):329-34. Effects of a standardized soy extract on hot flushes: a multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Faure ED, et al.
- Morelli V and Naquin C. Alternative Therapies for Traditional Disease States: Menopause. AMERICAN FAMILY PHYSICIAN. 2002. Jul 1;66(1):129-134.
- “Impact of Soy on Menopausal Symptoms” (Susan Appling, Kathleen Kelly, Jerilyn Allen), Southern Nursing Research Society (SNRS) 17th Annual Conference, Orlando, Florida, February 2003.
- Am J Epidemiol 2001 Apr 15;153(8):790-3. Soy product intake and hot flashes in Japanese women: Results from a community-based prospective study. Nagata C, et al.
- Obstetrics & Gynecology 2001 Jan;97(1):109-115. Soy intake related to menopausal symptoms, serum lipids, and bone mineral density in postmenopausal Japanese women. Somekawa Y, et al.
- Nagata C, Shimizu H, Takami R, Hayashi M, Takeda N, Yasuda K, Serum concentrations of estradiol and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate and soy product intake in relation to psychologic well-being in peri- and postmenopausal Japanese women. Metabolism 2000 Dec;49(12):1561-4.