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High Soy Intake Increases Bone Mass in Postmenopausal Women

WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) Jan 02 - Postmenopausal Japanese women who consume high amounts of soy products have increased bone mass, according to a report in the January issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Dr. Yoshiaki Somekawa, from the Toride Kyodo General Hospital, Ibaraki, Japan, and colleagues studied 478 postmenopausal women. They classified the subjects according to years since menopause and isoflavone intake, estimated based on reported weekly, monthly and yearly consumption of tofu, fermented soybeans, miso, and other soy products.

The investigators assessed the relationships between isoflavone intake and menopausal symptoms, lipid profiles and bone mineral density. Using stepwise regression analysis they found that the significant independent predictors of bone mineral density were weight and years since menopause.

"Bone mineral densities adjusted to years since menopause and weight were significantly different in the [group with highest isoflavone intake] compared with the lowest intake category, within the early and late postmenopausal groups," the team reports. The median intake of isoflavones was 54.3 mg/day.

Dr. Somekawa's group notes that osteoporosis-related fractures are less frequent in Asian communities than in the West, perhaps because Asians consume 10 to 100 times more isoflavones. "Additional bone-specific components that prevent bone loss or stimulate bone formation might exist in soy products," the group suggests, such as calcium and vitamin K2.

Obstet Gynecol 2000;97:109-115.

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