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Soy germ isoflavones improve menopausal symptoms but have no effect on blood lipids in early postmenopausal Chinese women: a randomized placebo-controlled trial

Ye, Yan-bin MD; Wang, Zi-lian MD; Zhuo, Shu-yu MD; Lu, Wei MPH; Liao, Hui-fang MPH; Verbruggen, MarianA. PhD; Fang, Shi MD; Mai, Hai-yan MD; Chen, Yu-ming PhD; Su, Yi-xiang MD

Menopause:
doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e31823dbeda
Original Articles
Abstract

Objective: Estrogen therapy is, to date, the most effective treatment of menopausal syndrome and also has a favorable effect on lipid profiles. Because of its potential adverse effects, however, a more acceptable alternative therapy needs to be identified. This study examines the effect of soy germ isoflavones on menopausal symptoms and serum lipids.

Methods: Ninety early postmenopausal Chinese women, aged 45 to 60 years, were randomly assigned to three treatment groups (30 each) receiving daily doses of 0 (placebo), 84, and 126 mg of soy germ isoflavones. Hot flush frequency, Kupperman scores, serum 17β-estradiol, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, and serum lipids, including triglyceride, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, apolipoprotein A-I, and apolipoprotein B100, were assessed at baseline and at 12 and 24 weeks after treatment.

Results: Both the frequency of hot flushes and the Kupperman index score decreased in all three treatment groups during the intervention period, but the percentage decreases in both were significantly greater in the two isoflavone groups (44.3 ± 19.1 and 57.8 ± 37.4 [84 mg isoflavones]; 48.5 ± 27.2 and 56.7 ± 26.7 [126 mg isoflavones]) than in the placebo group (27.8 ± 15.5 and 34.6 ± 46.2; p < 0.01). There was no significant difference in the changes in estradiol, follicle-stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone among the three treatment groups during the study, and no significant differences were observed in the lipid components.

Conclusions: A daily supplement of 84 or 126 mg soy germ isoflavones may improve menopausal symptoms, although neither dose was found to affect lipid profiles in early postmenopausal Chinese women after 24 weeks of treatment. The favorable effects are unlikely to be associated with female hormones.

In Brief

This 6-month randomized, placebo-controlled trial showed that a daily supplementation of 84 and 126 mg of soy germ isoflavone extracts improved menopausal symptoms but not serum lipids in postmenopausal Chinese women.

Author Information

From the 1Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Food, Nutrition and Health, Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Nutrition, the First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, the First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, PR China; 4Department of Medical Examination, the First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, PR China; 5Frutarom Netherlands BV, Veenendaal, the Netherlands; and 6Department of Medical Statistics & Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, PR China.

Received August 27, 2011; revised and accepted October 18, 2011.

Funding/support: This study was jointly supported by the Guangzhou Sciences and Technology Bureau (2002J1-C0081), the Grant of Department of Health of Guangdong Province (No: A2008158), and Frutarom Netherlands BV. The soy isoflavone extract was donated by Frutarom Netherlands BV, Veenendaal, the Netherlands.

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

Address correspondence to: Yu-ming Chen, PhD, Department of Medical Statistics & Epidemiology, School of Public Health of Sun Yat-sen University, 74# Zhongshan Rd 2, Guangzhou 510089, PR China. E-mail: chenyum@mail.sysu.edu.cn; and Yi-xiang Su, MD, Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health of Sun Yat-sen University, 74# Zhongshan Rd 2, Guangzhou 510089, PR China. E-mail: suyx@mail.sysu.edu.cn

© 2012 by The North American Menopause Society.