Main story:Soy: is it cancer on a plate?

* A study carried out at Monash University in Clayton, Australia, found that three months of soy supplements providing 288 mg/day of isoflavones did not improve menopausal complaints in 94 older women compared with those taking a placebo (Climacteric, 2000; 3: 161-7).

* Investigators at the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University examined changes in menopausal symptoms in response to 24 weeks of isoflavone-rich diets, comparing women receiving about 80 mg/day of isoflavones with a group receiving 4 mg/day of isoflavones and a group receiving none. None of the treatments had any effect on frequency, duration or severity of hot flushes or night sweats. As in the Australian study, all study participants reported a decline in overall symptoms, which suggests either a placebo effect or simply an improvement in symptoms during the study (Menopause, 2001; 8: 157-70).

For menopausal symptoms, perhaps the best bet is to look to homoeopathy, which offers benefits without the risks of breast cell proliferation, which may occur with any herbs containing isoflavones (Comp Ther Nurs Midw, 1997; 3:46).

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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