New Study Information on Bone Density and Soy Isoflavones

Bone loss is common among women of menopausal age. In addition to reducing the severity and frequency of hot flashes, soy isoflavones, like those found in Novasoy®, have been proven to prevent postmenopausal bone loss.

Impact of equol-producing capacity and soy-isoflavone profiles of supplements on bone calcium retention in postmenopausal women: a randomized crossover trial.

In 2015, an article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that “the use of soy isoflavones presents minimal to negligible risk to postmenopausal women (39, 40) and can be used long term for some protection against postmenopausal bone loss.”

This particular study used Novasoy in its research and found that the mixed isoflavones in Novasoy were better than supplements that contain mostly genistein.

The full study can be reviewed here.

Expert Commentary

A new study was published in the Am J Clinical Nutrition by Connie Weaver, an internationally recognized bone expert, and colleagues.  This group found that soy isoflavones are effective bone-preserving agents in postmenopausal women regardless of their equol-producing status, and mixed isoflavones in their natural ratios are more effective than enriched genistein. The group concluded that “Compared with bisphosphonates and HRT, the use of soy isoflavones presents minimal to negligible riskto postmenopausal women and can be used long term for some protection against postmenopausal bone loss.” This conclusion supports similar findings by other authors. 

It is important to point out that Novasoy was used in this study. Novasoy, is a soy-based concentrate carefully extracted to assure that the ratio of isoflavones as well as the aglycone and glycoside isoforms are maintained as they would be found in soybeans and unfermented soyfoods. The conclusions of this study support the fact that products containing a mix of different isoflavones such a Novasoy are more effective than preparations containing mostly genistein. 

The study also concluded that the equol-producing ability did not enhance the bone-protective effect of soy isoflavones in postmenopausal women. 

Additional Research

Considerable research has been done on the effectiveness of genistein on menopausal symptoms. For a critical analysis of studies that prove the effectiveness of soy isoflavones found naturally in the whole soybean, click here, or browse any of the additional studies listed below.

1. Pawlowski JW, Martin BR, McCabe GP, McCabe L, Jackson GS, Peacock M, Barnes S, Weaver CM. Impact of equol-producing capacity and soy-isoflavone profiles of supplements on bone calcium retention in postmenopausal women: a randomized crossover trial. Am J Clin Nutri 2015. 

2. Taku K, Melby MK, Kronenberg F, Kurzer MS, Messina M.Extracted or synthesized soybean isoflavones reduce menopausal hot flash frequency and severity: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Menopause, 2012; 19:776-90.

3. Williamson-Hughes PS, Flickinger BD, Messina MJ, Empie MW.Isoflavone supplements containing predominantly genistein reduce hot flash symptoms: a critical review of published studies. Menopause 2006.

4. Cassidy A, Albertazzi P, Lise Nielsen I, et al.Critical review of health effects of soyabean phyto-oestrogens in post-menopausal women. Proc Nutr Soc 2006;65:76-92.

5. Albertazzi P, Steel SA, Bottazzi M.Effect of pure genistein on bone markers and hot flushes. Climacteric 2005;8:371-9.

6. Campagnoli C, Abba C, Ambroggio S, Peris C, Perona M, Sanseverino P.Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) might reduce hot flushes: an indication from two controlled trials on soy isoflavones alone and with a PUFA supplement. Maturitas 2005;51:127-34. 

7. Colacurci N, Zarcone R, Borrelli A, et al.Effects of soy isoflavones on menopausal neurovegetative symptoms.Minerva Ginecol 2004;56:407-12. 

8. Petri Nahas E, Nahas Neto J, De Luca L, Traiman P, Pontes A, Dalben I.Benefits of soy germ isoflavones in postmenopausal women with contraindication for conventional hormone replacement therapy. Maturitas 2004;48:372-80.

9. Crisafulli A, Marini H, Bitto A, et al. 2004;11:400-4. 

10. Secreto G, Chiechi LM, Amadori A, et al.Soy isoflavones and melatonin for the relief of climacteric symptoms: a multicenter, double-blind, randomized study. Maturitas 2004;47:11-20. 

11. Nikander E, Kilkkinen A, Metsa-Heikkila M, et al.A randomized placebo-controlled crossover trial with phytoestrogens in treatment of menopause in breast cancer patients. Obstet Gynecol 2003;101:1213-20. 

12. Penotti M, Fabio E, Modena AB, Rinaldi M, Omodei U, Vigano P.Effect of soy-derived isoflavones on hot flushes, endometrial thickness, and the pulsatility index of the uterine and cerebral arteries. Fertil Steril 2003;79:1112-7.

13. Messina M, Hughes C.Efficacy of soyfoods and soybean isoflavone supplements for alleviating menopausal symptoms is positively related to initial hot flush frequency. J Med Food 2003;6:1-11.

14. Faure ED, Chantre P, Mares P.Effects of a standardized soy extract on hot flushes: a multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Menopause 2002;9:329-34.

15. Han KK, Soares JM, Jr., Haidar MA, de Lima GR, Baracat EC.Benefits of soy isoflavone therapeutic regimen on menopausal symptoms. Obstet Gynecol 2002;99:389-94. 

16. Upmalis DH, Lobo R, Bradley L, Warren M, Cone FL, Lamia CA.Vasomotor symptom relief by soy isoflavone extract tablets in postmenopausal women: a multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study.Menopause 2000;7:236-42.

17. Scambia G, Mango D, Signorile PG, et al.Clinical effects of a standardized soy extract in postmenopausal women: a pilot study. Menopause 2000;7:105-11.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.