To investigate the effect of soy isoflavone supplementation on bone mineral density (BMD) and markers of bone turnover in postmenopausal women.
In this randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial, we used a crossover design to test the effect of soy isoflavone (110 mg/day) (1.3:1.0:0.22 ratio of genistein/daidzein/ glycitein) on bone formation, bone resorption, bone mineral content (BMC), and BMD for 6 months.
Postmenopausal women (n = 19), mean age 70.6 +/- 6.3 years and mean time since menopause 19.1 +/- 5.5 years, were given isoflavone supplements for 6 months. There was a 37% decrease in urinary concentrations of type 1 collagen alpha1-chain helical peptide (HP), a marker of bone resorption, during the isoflavone supplementation compared with baseline (p < 0.05) and a significant difference in mean (SE) HP excretion levels when isoflavone was compared with placebo (43.4 +/- 5.2 vs. 56.3 +/- 7.2 microg/mmol creatinine [cr], p < 0.05). With isoflavone supplementation, mean spine BMD at L2 and L3 was significantly greater when treatment was compared with control, with a difference between means of 0.03 +/- 0.04 g and 0.03 +/- 0.04 g (p < 0.05), respectively. There were nonsignificant increases from baseline for total spine BMC (3.5%), total spine BMD (1%), total hip BMC (3.6%), and total hip BMD (1.3%) with the isoflavone treatment.
Soy isoflavone, in isolated form, was effective in this study to significantly decrease bone resorption in postmenopausal women. Further investigation needs to be done to evaluate the long-term effects of soy isoflavone on bone mass and fracture risk.