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Put Hot Flashes on Ice with Soy

Did you know that eating tofu or drinking soy milk could potentially ease one of the most common symptoms of menopause? A recent study suggests that soy isoflavones could lower the frequency and severity of hot flashes by 21% and 26% respectively.

A collaboration of university researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 26 studies. Their findings were published in the March 19, 2012 issue of Menopause. All of the studies included were double-blind randomized controlled trials. 13 examined hot flash frequency, 10 examined hot flash severity, and 3 included composite scores of 11 symptoms.

They found that 54 milligrams of soy isoflavones taken daily for 6 to 12 weeks resulted in an average 21% lower occurrence and a 26% reduction in severity of hot flashes. They also found that soy isoflavone supplementation produced a notable placebo effect, which could result in reductions up to 50% in both severity and occurrence.

In terms of dosage, the researchers noted that at least 18.8 mg of the isoflavone genistein resulted in maximum results. They believe that a 50 milligram dosage of soy supplements would result in the same results, as long as it had at least 19 mg of genistein.

These benefits are probably because isoflavones are phytoestrogens. Phytyoestrogens are substances derived from plants that mimic estrogen, which is a common treatment for menopause symptoms.

Soy isoflavones have been previously linked with improved heart health, bone health, cancer prevention and slowing down the aging process. Soy is not a common part of the Western diet but soy products can be easily found at any health food store 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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