U of M study: soy helps ease hot flashes

Certain soy supplements could help menopausal women experiencing hot flashes, according to new research from the University of Minnesota.

The study published in the journal Menopause looked at 19 past studies on soy isoflavone supplements and summarized and analyzed their results. Individually, those studies didn't prove the supplements could reduce hot flashes, but researchers say the summary results from 1,200 women show a positive link.

"The main take-home message is that soy supplements and isoflavone supplements in particular -- these are the extracts -- do exert some benefit on hot flashes, that women should try it and see if they feel some benefit," said Mindy Kurzer, a U of M food science and nutrition researcher who worked on the analysis with researchers from other universities and Japan's National Institute of Health and Nutrition.

Kurzer, who directs the university's Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute, said more research is needed to determine how much soy women need to take to feel better.

She predicted that doctors and their patients will be interested in the findings, because the study shows soy isoflavones are a possible alternative to hormone therapy for menopausal women.

Two of the researchers do consulting work for the soy industry, but the industry did not fund the study.

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