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Postmenopausal Women May Want to Up Soy Intake for Bone Health

Researchers from the USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center at the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas recently found that soy isoflavones may help postmenopausal women avoid osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is the thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density over time, which significantly increases the risk of bone fractures, especially in the hip and spine.

Isoflavones are antioxidants found primarily in beans, peanuts and chickpeas.

The study was published in the November 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

403 postmenopausal women participated in the multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial lasting 2 years.

None of the women were smokers or suffering from osteoporosis at the beginning of the study.

The women were randomly assigned to receive soy isoflavones (80 or 120mg) or a placebo daily over the course of the 2 years. Both groups were also given supplements of calcium and vitamin D.

The researchers observed less bone loss among the women receiving 120mg of soy isoflavones (approximately ½ cup of roasted soybeans) after 1 and 2 years of supplementation.

However, the isoflavones did not slow bone loss at common fracture sites, according to the results published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Women are 4 times more likely to develop osteoporosis than men. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 70% of women over the age of 80 have osteoporosis. These staggering statistics have prompted the World Health Organization to call osteoporosis its biggest global healthcare problem.

A good way to reduce the risk of osteoporosis is by maintaining balanced acid-alkaline levels and consuming more calcium and vitamin D.

It appears that long term consumption of soy may also help with bone health. Soy isoflavones have been associated with a number of health benefits such as reduction of bone loss, alleviation of hot flashes, maintenance of heart health and reduction in the risk of prostate cancer.

Eating whole soy beans is the best way to increase your isoflavone levels but there are a host of quality soy food products and supplements available as well.

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