Since earlier this week I discussed some of the health risks associated with excessive soy consumption in some populations, it’s only fair that I also discuss some of the health benefits of supplemental soy isoflavones. Phytoestrogenic soy isoflavones such as genistin, daidzin, and glycitin are metabolized by gut bacteria into genistein, daidzein, and glycitein. Due to their ability to bind to estrogen receptors and exert mild to moderate estrogenic or anti-estrogenic effects these metabolitites of soy isoflavones can have positive effects on certain health conditions in other populations.

Most frequently supplemental soy isoflavones are recommended for reduction of menopausal symptoms in women, including reduction of bone mineral loss that leads to osteoporosis and reduction of inflammation that leads to cardiovascular disease. Studies show they have a moderate effect, 11-26%, on reducing other symptoms of menopause compared to placebo, including hot flashes, night sweats, sleep issues, and mood changes. Currently, studies don’t support the use of soy isoflavones to reduce breast cancer risk.

The most common side-effects of soy isoflavones include allergic reactions, gastrointestinal discomfort, and insomnia. Contraindications for use include soy allergy, bladder cancer, estrogen sensitive diseases (including cancers, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids), hypothyroidism, kidney disease, kidney stones, antibiotics, diuretics, estrogen, green tea extract, letrozole, MAO inhibitors, progesterone, tamoxifen, warfarin, and more.

Standard dosing is 50-200mg concentrated soy isoflavone extract daily to reduce menopausal symptoms. They are not recommended for use in pre-menopausal women, adolescents, or children.

Disclaimer: The content herein is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is not meant to diagnosis, cure, or treat any medical condition. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with questions regarding a medical condition and before starting new diets and dietary supplements. Not all diets or supplements are appropriate for all people or all health conditions.

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