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New Study: Soy May Alleviate Hot Flashes

For years, women have received inconsistent and conflicting messages about the relationship between soy and menopause. A new, large-scale study published in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Association finally offers clear and compelling evidence that soy is in fact beneficial for menopausal women.

The study team reviewed an extensive body of research, compiling data on over 1,200 women who were given a dose of soy isoflavones daily for between six weeks and one year. The analysis found that a daily dose of 54 mg of soy isoflavones decreased hot flash frequency by 21 percent and decreased severity by 26 percent.

One of the study co-authors was quoted: “Soy isoflavones appear to be a good first approach to alleviating hot flashes. Since there is often a large placebo effect, women taking supplements with the right soy isoflavone profile will likely see at least a 50 percent reduction compared to doing nothing.”

Soy isoflavones may also be an effective option for managing hot flashes for women who prefer not to take hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Interestingly, a small survey also published in Menopause found that 70 percent of women seeking a non-hormonal treatment for hot flashes would be satisfied with a 50 percent reduction in symptoms.

While this study used soy supplements, soy milk, tofu and tempeh are also good sources of soy isoflavones. A serving of one of these foods typically provides about 25 mg of isoflavones, meaning women may be able to replicate the benefits of the study by eating just two servings of soy foods per day.

Image Credit: Food Thinkers/Flickr