The Potential Benefits of Soy for Premenopausal Women’s Bone and Heart Health

Key Takeaways:

  • Soy, rich in natural plant-based estrogens, may contribute to heart and bone health, especially in premenopausal women.
  • Studies on primates show that a soy-based diet can lead to improvements in cholesterol levels, specifically in primates predisposed to cardiovascular diseases. This is indicative of potential cardiovascular benefits for premenopausal women.
  • A consumption of soy diet might generate a slight increase in bone mass. This raises the possibility of whether soy consumption before menopause could aid in maintaining bone mass after menopause.
  • The findings on soy’s potential health benefits were presented at the North American Menopause Society meeting in Washington, D.C.

A plant-based diet rich in soy could potentially offer significant benefits to the heart and bones of premenopausal women. This is according to a scientific research conducted at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

Soy’s Natural Estrogens and their Potential Impact

The research comprises two different studies performed on primates and their results suggest that these potential health benefits could stem from a combination of the natural plant-based estrogens present in soy and the estrogen found naturally within women’s bodies. This powerful combo, the scientists indicate, is particularly beneficial for those women who are yet to experience menopause.

The Cardiovascular Benefits of Soy-Based Diets

The first study observed that primates subjected to a diet primarily composed of soy exhibited improvements in their cholesterol levels compared to peers who consumed a diet consisting of milk and animal proteins. This enhancement in cholesterol levels was most prominent in primates with a higher susceptibility to cardiovascular diseases.

Researcher Joy Kaplan stated, “Our studies on primates indicate that the optimal period for preventing cardiovascular diseases in women is prior to the onset of menopause, not after. Soy has demonstrated a significant protective effect in primates, in terms of cholesterol levels, a well-accepted indicator of overall cardiovascular risk. We expect the benefits would extend to premenopausal women, too.”

The Benefits of Soy on Bone Health

The second study inferred that primates fed soy diets gained slightly more bone mass compared to those that did not consume soy. The outcome raises the intriguing query whether the consumption of soy prior to menopause could assist women in preserving bone mass post menopause.

Both studies were unveiled at the North American Menopause Society meeting in Washington, D.C.

Further Information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging provides additional data regarding menopause.

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