Study results suggest that soybean foods may help protect menopausal women against bone weakening and osteoporosis.

Soybean foods contain isoflavones, which are similar in structure to estrogen, and so could theoretically protect women against osteoporosis by mimicking the action of estrogen, researchers theorize in their study, presented recently at the Society for Endocrinology annual conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, according to a media release from the society.

In their study, researchers from the University of Hull gave 200 women in early menopause a daily supplement containing soy protein with 66mg of isoflavones or a supplement with soy protein alone for 6 months. The researchers investigated changes in the women’s bone activity by measuring certain proteins (?CTX and P1NP) in their blood.

They found that the women on the soy diet with isoflavones had significantly lower levels of ?CTX than the women on soy alone, suggesting that their rate of bone loss was slowing down and lowering their risk of developing osteoporosis. Women taking soy protein with isoflavones were also found to have decreased risk of cardiovascular disease than those taking soy alone, the release explains.

“We found that soy protein and isoflavones are a safe and effective option for improving bone health in women during early menopause. The actions of soy appear to mimic that of conventional osteoporosis drugs,” says Thozhukat Sathyapalan, the study’s lead author, in the release.

“The 66 mg of isoflavone that we use in this study is equivalent to eating an oriental diet, which is rich in soy foods. In contrast, we only get around 2-16 mg of isoflavone with the average western diet.”

“Supplementing our food with isoflavones could lead to a significant decrease in the number of women being diagnosed with osteoporosis,” he adds.

[Source(s): Society for Endocrinology, Science Daily]