Phytoestrogens for menopausal bone loss and climacteric symptoms.J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2014 Jan; 139:294-301.JS
Women have always looked for non-hormonal options to alleviate menopausal vasomotor symptoms and prevent menopausal bone loss. The use of complementary and alternative medicine for these purposes has particularly increased after the publication of the Women's Health Initiative's results suggesting that there might be more risks than benefits with hormone replacement. Phytoestrogens are plant-derived estrogens that, although less potent than estradiol, bind to the estrogen receptor and can function as estrogen agonists or antagonists. Soy isoflavones extracted from soy are the phytoestrogens most commonly used by menopausal women. Because typical Western diets are low in phytoestrogens and taking into account the general difficulty in changing dietary habits, most clinical trials in Western women have used isoflavone-fortified foods or isoflavone tablets. Although some women might experience a reduction in the frequency or severity of hot flashes, most studies point towards the lack of effectiveness of isoflavones derived from soy or red clover, even in large doses, in the prevention of hot flashes and menopausal bone loss. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'Phytoestrogens'.