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Isoflavones May Cut Risk of Breast Cancer

A recent study suggests that taking supplements high in isoflavones may reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by 28%. This reduction increases to 43% if the supplements are taken for one to five years.

Isoflavones are plant-derived compounds with antioxidant and estrogenic activity. Their chemical structure is very similar to that of estrogen and they have the ability to reduce or activate the activity of estrogen in the human body. They are found chiefly in soybeans.

The study included 3,101 women with breast cancer and 3,471 women without breast cancer who were used as controls. The researchers examined data pertaining to their use of 28 different isoflavone supplements.

Supplements with daily dose isoflavone values less than 0.025 mg were classified as low content. Those with daily dose isoflavone values greater than 0.676 were classified as high content.

The 28% and 43% risk reductions that were found only applied to postmenopausal women who took supplements high in isoflavone content. No risk reduction was found for women who took supplements low in isoflavone content.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto. It was published in the March 2013 issue of the International Journal of Cancer.

Previous studies have found that consumption of soy isoflavones may result in the widening of blood vessels and improvement in artery function. Additionally, soy isoflavones have been associated with reduced menopause symptoms, reduced bone loss, decreased risk of prostate cancer, and improved bone health.

Soy products can be easily found at many grocery stores in the form of tofu or soy milk. If those products don’t appeal to you, they are also available in supplement form.

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