Thoughts on Better Aging

Is Soy Safe for Menopausal Women?

September 30th, 2015

Soy foods can provide some support for healthy aging.

In recent years there has been a lot of concern and debate about the impact of phytoestrogens found in soy products on women’s health. Some people fear that eating too much soy could cause estrogen dominance, a condition that can indeed cause serious health issues including increased risk of cancer.

While research on this topic is ongoing, so far there is no evidence that consuming soy foods causes negative health impacts for women. In fact, the evidence actually suggests that soy foods can help fight certain menopause symptoms and protect women’s overall health at menopause.

Phytoestrogens Work Differently

Before delving into the benefits of soy, it is important to clarify that though phytoestrogens are similar in structure to estrogen hormones, they function differently in the body. While research suggests that the particular forms of phytoestrogens found in soy (aka isoflavones) can mimic certain functions of natural estrogen, they can also block natural estrogen from binding to receptors. Additionally, isoflavones have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This is why isoflavones can have a protective effect, especially in women who may be estrogen dominant.

Benefits of Soy

Studying the benefits of isoflavones isn’t easy. One issue is that the amount of isoflavones in soy foods can vary dramatically depending on how the soy was processed. The amount of isoflavones absorbed by the body will also vary depending on how well different individuals’ intestinal enzymes break down the compounds into their usable form. However, research does indicate that consuming more soy can help deliver these 5 important benefits for menopausal women:

  • Hot Flash Reduction: Some studies have shown that consuming more soy can protect against hot flashes. In one Japanese study, women with higher soy intake had fewer hot flashes, while in one American study women experienced a reduction in the severity of their hot flashes.
  • Bone Health: In studies of Japanese women, higher consumption of isoflavones was linked to higher bone density.
  • Heart Health: Based on studies that show a link between eating soy and major reductions in LDL cholesterol, the FDA recommends including soy in a heart-healthy diet.
  • Weight Loss: By substituting for fatty foods like red meat as a protein source, eating more soy may help promote weight loss. Soy can also help prevent estrogen from forming in fat tissues, which may help counteract the tendency for women to gain weight after menopause as the body turns to fat as a new source of estrogen.
  • Breast Cancer Protection: A recent study of over 9,000 breast cancer survivors from the US and China found that women who consumed at least 10 mg of soy per day decreased their risk of breast cancer recurrence by 25 percent.

Remember: Soy is Not a Substitute for Estrogen Therapy

If you want the best protection for your health as you age, you need more than just phytoestrogens. You need to raise estrogen and its counterpart progesterone to healthy levels with a quality hormone replacement program. For details, contact Renew Woman™.

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