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Soy Isoflavones for Menopause

Menopause is part of the natural aging process for women. Decreasing levels of estrogen production by the ovaries as women age cause many unpleasant symptoms, most commonly hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, weight gain and vaginal dryness.

Lack of estrogen also predisposes a woman to heart disease, osteoporosis (bone loss) and memory problems. Traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the replacement of the body's lost estrogen with prescription estrogens derived from a variety of sources including equine (horse), plant-based and lab synthesized compounds.

HRT, once thought to protect women from heart disease, has recently (July 2002) been shown to increase risk of heart disease, breast cancer, stroke, blood clots and gallbladder disease. The study results were so alarming that the National Institutes of Health halted the study to protect participants. Numerous other studies have also shown that HRT increases risk of breast cancer, endometrial (uterine) cancer and blood clots, and has numerous side-effects like weight gain, bloating, irritability and nausea.

Over 85% of American women refuse to start or continue HRT for fear of increased cancer risks. Breast cancer survivors can't take HRT either. This has left millions of women looking for alternatives.

Because of positive research about soy, many medical doctors are now recommending soy as a safe, effective dietary addition to alleviate menopausal symptoms, protect the heart (according to the FDA and the American Heart Association) and promote bone health, without increasing the risk of breast cancer, endometrial cancer or blood clots. Many human studies show that soy promotes better breast and endometrial health. In fact, some women healthcare leaders are calling soy the "perfect alternative" to HRT.

Should you consider soy?

Many doctors recommend soy for their patients. Research documents that soy can significantly improve your midlife comfort and health, whether you are in your perimenopause (30's to mid 40's), menopause (late 40's to mid 50's), or postmenopause (late 50's and beyond) years. Symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, fatigue, vaginal dryness, loss of libido, headaches, anxiety and insomnia can be controlled safely with soy.

Studies and population data (like those from the Asian cultures) show that soy is extremely safe. Soy has never been shown to increase breast or endometrial cancer risk. In fact, soy consumption may actually promote healthy breast, endometrial (uterine) and colon tissues. Populations with the highest soy consumption have the lowest rates of breast and endometrial problems.

In summary, soy is safe and effective for alleviation of menopausal symptoms. Soy can even help younger women manage PMS and other menstrual disturbances. The FDA, American Heart Association, and leading health experts recommend that Americans eat more soy protein to lower their cholesterol, protect their hearts, and reduce menopausal symptoms. New research shows that eating soy is associated with stronger bones, reduced menstrual disturbances like PMS, and improved breast, endometrial, and colon health. Studies also show soy helps you lose weight by blocking storage of fat.

Effective Alternative Treatment for Menopause

Soy Isoflavones

Soy isoflavones are phytochemicals(naturally occurring plant chemicals) in soy products. Some isoflavones, such as genistein and daidzein, exert mild estrogenic effects and are thus called phytoestrogens. Structurally similiar to estrogen, soy isoflavones have the capacity to bind to empty estrogen receptors and relieve hormonally based symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes. It is this ability to decrease hormone reception that also seems to be the mechanism by which phytoestrogens such as soy isoflavones prevent hormone-dependent cancers.
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