Benefits of soy germ isoflavones in postmenopausal women with contraindication for conventional hormone replacement therapy

By Nahas, EP et al, Maturitas, 48 (2004): 372-380

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is recommended for the relief of vasomotor symptoms, treatment of vaginal atrophy and prevention of osteoporosis. In spite of the well-known advantages of HRT, approximately 70% of women drop out after the 1st year of treatment, due to (a/o.) irregular bleeding, breast pain, nausea, migraines, weight gain and water retention, besides the fear of breast cancer. These side effects lead some women to opt for natural forms of treatment.

Study design

The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of soy germ isoflavones on vasomotor symptoms and blood lipids in postmenopausal women with a contraindication for HRT.

This prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study included 50 Brazilian postmenopausal women randomly divided into two groups: 25 women on 60 mg soy germ isoflavones (as glycosides) and 25 women on placebo (lactose). For 6 months, the isoflavones were taken twice per day in capsules (Isosoy® containing SoyLife COMPLEX, Herborisa®, Brazil). The women were non-vegetarian and non-Asian. Their last menstruation was at least 12 months prior to the beginning of the study; they experienced hot flushes and had a contraindication for conventional HRT. The women did not use tamoxifen or antibiotics and had no disease of the gastrointestinal tract nor a thyroid dysfunction.

Evaluations of the Kupperman index took place at start and after 2, 4, and 6 months. The Kupperman index is the sum of the severity scores given to 11 of the most common menopausal complaints. In addition, triglycerides (TG), total cholesterol (TC), HDL, and LDL were measured at t = 0, 3 and 6 months. The changes in hormonal status were evaluated at start and after 6 months.

Results

Starting at 2 months