Osteoporosis can be reduced in menopausal women if they follow a soy-based diet, according to a new study. Results show that foods containing high levels of isoflavones and protein usually found in soybeans can prevent bone loss and protect bone health among older women.
- Older women can reduce risk of osteoporosis with a soy-based diet
- Bone density loss affects 200 million women worldwide
- Osteoporosis causes more than 8.9 million fractures each year
- Supplements with soy protein and isoflavones are linked to lower markers for osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is an illness characterized by bone density loss commonly seen in both men and women who reach the age of 50. However, roughly 80 percent of the patients in need of treatment are women due to the bodily changes that come with menopause.
This brittle bone condition is estimated to affect 200 million women worldwide, causing more than 8.9 million fractures each year. More than 75 million of the people suffering from osteoporosis are in the USA, Europe, and Japan.
The risk of developing osteoporosis is increased among menopausal women because of the estrogen decrease they experience, the hormone responsible with protecting the bones. Chances of developing osteoporosis decrease if the woman has a great bone density upon reaching menopause.
However, the rates of bone loss are different from one woman to another – some can lose as much as 20 percent of bone density during the first 5 to 7 years after menopause. Preliminary results of the study were presented at the Society for Endocrinology annual conference in Edinburgh by the researchers from the University of Hull in the United Kingdom.
For the study, researchers randomly divided 200 women in early menopause in two groups: one received a daily supplement containing soy protein with 66 mg of isoflavones, and the other a supplement with only soy protein. Both courses of treatment lasted for half a year. During this time, blood samples were collected from the women.
Findings showed that participants who took supplements with soy protein and isoflavones had lower markers for osteoporosis than those who took supplements without isoflavones. This means they experienced a slower rate of bone loss. Isoflavones are much alike to estrogen in function and chemical structure, and they can decrease risk of osteoporosis.
Senior author Dr. Thozhukat Sathyapalan of Hull’s department of academic cardiology explained that improving bone health in women during early menopause with isoflavones and soy protein has proven safe and effective. Soy seems to mimic the effects of conventional osteoporosis drugs, but with fewer side effects.
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