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Soy foods can help reduce hot flashes, University of Minnesota study finds

April 9, 2012

Menopausal women can find relief from hot flashes by taking soy isoflavone supplements, a new study from the University of Minnesota and other research institutions has found.

Past studies have yielded similar results but individual studies were considered inconclusive. For the new analysis, researchers evaluated 19 past trials from 10 countries to reach broader conclusions. The statistical analysis of the findings involved trials that included 1,196 women for hot flash frequency and 988 women for hot flash severity. The results are published in Menopause, the Journal of the North American Menopause Society.

Because of health concerns about traditional hormone therapy treatment for hot flashes, more women are turning to natural products such as soy foods and soy extracts, says Mindy Kurzer, professor in the U of M’s department of food science and nutrition and director of the Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute. But past individual studies about the natural treatments’ effectiveness suffered from inconsistencies or methodology questions, she said. “This was an effort to bring together all the research and answer the questions as conclusively as possible.”

Kurzer and her colleagues say that their work clearly shows that soy extracts are more effective than placebos. Future research will help determine the precise dose of isoflavones that is most effective. The study included scientists from Japan’s National Institute of Health and Nutrition; Stanford University; the University of Delaware and Loma Linda University.
 

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