The connection between soy and menopause has become a very strong one in recent times, with many contributing to the view that soy menopause supplements can greatly help in managing menopausal symptoms.
One of the main arguments offered in favor or soy menopause products to manage symptoms of menopause, is the fact that Asian women, who typically have a diet high in soy and soy products are only one third as likely as their American counterparts to experience menopausal symptoms.
It is argued that there is not word in Japanese for the term ‘hot flash’, to indicate that few Japanese women have them.
Soy menopause products work on the basis of the isoflavones that are contained in them.
These are plant derived estrogens which are supposed to alleviate bothersome menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes etc.
However, it is not able to be proven clinically that soy menopause supplements to indeed work. In one study it was seen that women who took the soy product did in fact see a reduction of their hot flashes by 40% but other women who were given placebo or sugar pills experienced about the same reduction of hot flashes.
In conclusion the study on the topic of soy menopause supplements conducted by the Bowman Gray School of Medicine in North Carolina has shown that symptoms such vaginal dryness, hot flashes and night sweats received very little, if any help.
And if the hot flashes were seen to get better in any way it was only the severity and not the frequency that was seen to reduce slightly due to the soy menopause supplements. So, to say that these supplements can act as a substitute for other hormone replacement therapy, would be erroneous.
The reason that soy menopause products ought to be used with care is that these are not regulated by the FDA and so quality control and purity and efficacy of ingredients are of predictable standards.
Also the long term effects, particularly side effects of taking soy menopause supplements are also not clearly understood. Then there is the added worry about soy intake being linked to breast cancer risk, shrouding the whole matter of soy menopause supplements in doubt.
So at best it can be said that research with regard to soy menopause supplements and other products is inconclusive at this time. Including products such as edamame, tofu, tempeh, soy milk and other soy products in the diet may be of benefit to the health but to say that soy relieves menopausal symptoms may be a bit of a stretch.