There has been a great deal of debate, research, and discussion as to the effectiveness of soy in treating and reducing hot flashes associated with menopause. While some doctors prescribe soy products for women in the menopausal stage, the question which has yet to be answered is: “Can soy decrease hot flashes?”
According to recent studies, soy is one of many types of isoflavones. Isoflavones are estrogens which come from plants. It should be noted that isoflavones are estrogens; they are not alternatives to estrogen. Therefore, a woman who wants to avoid estrogen is obviously not supposed to be taking soy, because soy is a form of estrogen, even though it is from a plant. Although the research indicated that soy would help menopause symptoms, the recent trials have failed to show effectiveness. Unfortunately, the FDA does not control these trials, and therefore the purity and ingredients vary from bottle to bottle, even with the same manufacturer. In addition, because of the lack of FDA control, manufacturers have no requirements to prove safety or side effects. This means that because of the lack of required research information, much more is known about the side effects of prescription estrogen than about soy. According to the sparse research conducted on soy, there are still conflicting results as to its efficacy. Some studies show that soy can cause multiplication of breast cells, implying that it may increase breast cancer risk. Fortunately, due to massive public interest, research is once again beginning.
The reason behind all of this conflicting evidence is that it is unclear what is being tested since studies have looked at all kinds of soy foods and supplements, and there has been no consistency in the products being tested. This may be one of the reasons why soy research does not always produce positive results.
Another study was conducted recently in which 37 women who used the soy supplement. 75 percent reported relief from hot flashes. Tests showed they also experienced a measurable increase in bone density as well. While experts say the results are promising, one nutritionist believes the research makes too many "leaps of faith about issues that remain unproven.” It was also stated that woman should exercise caution with soy supplementation until more research is done. However, it was concluded that including soy products in your diet may still offer many health benefits.