In the past experts have suggested that women who suffer from mild to moderate hot flashes and night sweats try eating up to 25 grams of soy foods daily, every day for 4-6 weeks to see if they benefit from the hot flash/night sweats relief that the phyto-estrogens provide. As suspected, not every patient would experience relief, but many do. If the daily consumption of soy for 4 to six weeks did not appear to impact the hot flashes, then most experts recommended continuing consumption of soy for other health benefits. They were somewhat sure that an extended period of eating soy, beyond 6 weeks would probably not yield hot flash relief.
An expert panel has now released a formal position statement on soy's health benefits, after reviewing hundreds of studies. Soy does appear to help a significant number of women with hot flashes/night sweats. The jury is still out on whether soy has a proven track record with regards to its impact on heart disease and bone health. Ongoing studies may showcase these health impacts in the future. The panel reviewed hundreds of studies and found that the "estrogen-like impact" of soy may partially explain its health benefits, but it may also be exerting significant anti-oxidant activities as well. The panel looked at both soy foods and soy supplement studies and found:
Soy foods relieved hot flashes "moderately."
Supplements with high levels of the soy isoflavone genistein seemed to have the most impact
Soy from foods is associated with lower rates of breast and endometrial cancers in studies
Soy's heart health impact is still evolving in studies
There seems to be a critical window of soy's impact on female cognitive function. It is appreciated in women under age 65 as opposed to women over age 65.
Another good piece of news was the fact that soy did not appear to have any negative impact or significant risks. Currently the new recommendation for menopausal women is 50 mgs. of isoflavones daily for 12 weeks to see if there is a beneficial impact. Experts who further reviewed the panels' findings suggest more ongoing studies that look at soy consumption impact on different age groups, on different diseases and testing soy foods like tofu as well as specific supplements with soy isoflavones.
Certainly including soy foods like tofu, soy milk, soy yogurt and cheeses, soy nuts and soy beans in a healthy balanced diet can provide sources of calcium, vitamin D, fiber and plant-based protein that is low in saturated fat. That makes these foods great for a weight loss diet, or for a diet looking to reduce saturated fat, improve intake of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and improve your health profile.
Published On: October 07, 2011