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Soy for Menopause Symptoms - Forrest Health
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    Soy for Menopause Symptoms

    Topic Overview

    Soy is high in isoflavones. Isoflavones are a type of phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogens are chemicals found in plants that work like estrogens. In some ways, the human body can use them like estrogens.footnote 1

    Are soy isoflavones effective?

    Menopause symptoms. Soy products may improve menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes. This is based on mixed evidence. So far, studies have used many different soy sources and different measures of success, which are hard for experts to compare. Soy isoflavone (rather than soy protein) studies have shown the most promise for hot flash treatment.footnote 2

    Are soy isoflavones safe?

    Eating and drinking soy on a daily basis has no known risks. For some people, it upsets the digestive system.

    The long-term effects of a diet high in soy have not been well-studied. High soy intake can't be considered safe until more research is done.footnote 2

    Some experts think that soy phytoestrogen does not lead to cancer like estrogen can. But this has not been proven. Experts do not yet know if a high-soy diet is a risk for women who have had breast cancer.footnote 2

    Making soy a part of your daily diet

    Isoflavones are short-acting. If you use soy for health reasons, try to eat it throughout the day, rather than all at once. Try to eat 40 mg to 80 mg of isoflavones each day.footnote 2, footnote 1

    Remember that soy protein is different than soy isoflavone. A high-protein soy food may or may not have a large amount of isoflavones in it.

    Soy comes in many forms, so you have a lot of choices for adding soy isoflavones to your diet.

    Isoflavone content of common soy foods


    Serving size

    Total isoflavones in milligrams (mg)

    Soy protein concentrate

    3.5 oz

    102, aqueous washed

    12, alcohol washed


    ½ cup


    Soybeans, boiled

    ½ cup



    3 oz


    Soybeans, dry roasted

    1 oz


    Soy milk

    1 cup


    Tofu yogurt

    ½ cup



    3 oz


    Soybeans, green, boiled (edamame)

    ½ cup


    Meatless (soy) hot dog

    1 hot dog


    Meatless (soy) sausage

    3 links


    Soy cheese, mozzarella

    1 oz


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    1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2001, reaffirmed 2010). Use of botanicals for management of menopausal symptoms. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 28. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 97(6, Suppl): 1–11.
    2. North American Menopause Society (2011). The role of soy isoflavones in menopausal health: Report of the North American Menopause Society. Menopause, 18(7): 732–753.


    Current as ofMay 14, 2018

    Author: Healthwise Staff
    Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
    Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
    Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
    Carla J. Herman, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine

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