Enjoy Soy...But Is It Enough?

Recently the New York Times published an article titled “Regimens: Soy Does Little for Menopause Symptoms”. It discusses a research study performed at the University of Miami comparing women taking soy isoflavones vs. placebo. Followed for 2 years, the women showed no changes in bone density. In addition, the study found no significant changes in menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, sleep difficulties and vagina dryness.

Over the years in my practice of treating perimenopause and menopause, I have seen mixed results when patients using soy products. Like other alternative therapies, such as dong quai and black cohosh, soy is a phytoestrogen. In other words, soy looks like human estrogen. BUT, it is not estrogen and doesn’t have the same benefits on the heart or bones. Bioidentical estrogen does.

Not mentioned in the New York Times article is yams. Many patients often ask me about the benefits of eating yams. I tell my patients, that while nutritious, eating all the yams you want will not alleviate any of their menopausal symptoms. That is, because, while progesterone can be made from yams in a lab, our bodies cannot convert yams into progesterone.

So the take home message here, eat soy and yams for their nutritional benefit, but if you are looking for a safe and effective treatment of menopause, bioidentical estrogen and progesterone is the way to go.

Dr. Dean Mitchell
Mitchell Medical Group, NYC & Long Island

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