Soy isoflavones may increase bone health
Most people are aware that milk and dairy products provide calcium and vitamin D, which promote bone strength. However, a number of other natural compounds in foods might help strengthen bones as well.
Scientists from the Agricultural Research Service have found that estrogen-like substances known as soybean isoflavones may provide a modest benefit in preventing bones loss when paired with certain lifestyle factors.
The researchers conducted a 3-year study which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
to determine whether isoflavones extracted from soy protein would protect postmenopausal volunteers against bone loss. They gave the women a placebo or a pill containing 80 milligrams or 120 milligrams of isoflavones.
Overall, the isoflavones had no significant effect on preventing bone loss. However, the 120-mg treatment showed a modest benefit when evaluated in conjunction with particular lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise.
The researchers suggest that the body's response to isoflavones extracted from soy proteins may be different from responses to isoflavones in soy protein, soy foods or a soy-protein supplement. Also, the isoflavone doses used in the study may not have been high enough to produce a bone-sparing effect.