VOLUME 20 #2

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Soy really does lessen menopause hot flashes

Melissa Melby
Melissa Melby

RESEARCH | In the most comprehensive study to date to examine the effects of soy on menopause, researchers have found that two daily servings of soy can reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes by up to 26 percent, compared with a placebo.

The findings, published in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Association, reviewed 19 previous studies that examined more than 1,200 women.

Although the effectiveness of soy in alleviating hot flashes has been inconclusive, with some studies suggesting it to be beneficial and others suggesting otherwise, much of the discrepancy is due to small sample sizes and inconsistent methodology, according to the authors.

"When you combine them all, we've found the overall effect is still positive," says co-author Melissa Melby, an assistant professor of medical anthropology at UD.

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The interest in soy and menopause stems from observational evidence in Japan, where researchers have found that the low frequency of hot flashes in Japanese women might be attributed to the high soy consumption that often begins in utero and continues throughout their lifespan.

"Soy is probably more effective in these women," Melby says. "But if you're 50 and you've never touched soy, it's not too late. We've found that it still helps."

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