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Hot Flash for Women at Menopause: Try a Little Tofu


In the consensus statement, which is published in the Journal of the North American Menopause Society, the panel recommends these isoflavone intake amounts:

  • 50 mg per day of isoflavone, which can be obtained from 25 g per day of soy protein, for cholesterol control. The experts add that taking this amount may also provide some protection against osteoporosis.
  • 40-80 mg per day of isoflavone may have some benefit for hot flashes.
  • As little as 10 mg per day of isoflavone may be beneficial in lowering cholesterol, although a specific amount cannot yet be recommended to prevent heart disease.

Because there is a wide variation in the blood levels of isoflavones among individuals who are taking the same amounts of the supplements, there is still some question about how much of the isoflavones are needed to be beneficial.

One physician who is grateful for the new statement is Sandra A. Fryhofer, MD, who has a women's medicine practice in Atlanta. "I think it is an excellent consensus opinion," she tells WebMD. "It goes through the evidence that we have thus far and makes some good recommendations." Fryhofer is president of the American College of Physicians/American Society of Internal Medicine and an associate clinical professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. Although she is a member of the North American Menopause Society, she did not participate in drafting the consensus statement.

"The nation, and particularly women, seem to have a fascination with natural products," Fryhofer says, and women are bringing this fascination to their physicians. According to Fryhofer, many of her patients ask about the use of "natural estrogens."

Fryhofer agrees that the best approach is to "get isoflavones from consuming whole foods. I think this is preferable to using the purified isoflavone products. I just recommend adding a little tofu to the diet because you can mix tofu into just about anything."

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