November 13, 2001
Postmenopausal Women Benefit from High Dietary Phytoestrogen
- Osteoporosis continues to top the list of potential health problems
that could affect postmenopausal women. However, a study published in the
November issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found
that eating foods with high levels of phytoestrogens, such as tofu or soy,
may help postmenopausal women prevent osteoporosis.
Researchers at the University of Hong Kong studied the phytoestrogen intake
of 650 southern Chinese women-293 premenopausal and 357 postmenopausal. The
average phytoestrogen intake was 29 mg/day for postmenopausal women and 21
mg/day for premenopausal women. Dr. Annie W.C. Kung and the other
researchers discovered a correlation between high dietary phytoestrogen
intake and an increased bone mass in the women.
"These figures show that Chinese women take in more than seven times more
phytoestrogens than the average Western woman," commented Dr. Kung.
The postmenopausal women with high daily phytoestrogen intake (average 2
mg/day, equivalent to about 2 pieces of tofu/day) experienced significantly
higher Bone Mineral Density (BMD) when compared the women with low daily
"It is well known that a 10% reduction in BMD is associated with a two- fold
increase in fracture risk," said Dr. Kung. "These results show that women
who are at risk for osteoporosis may directly benefit from eating a
phytoestrogen-rich diet. Women who are at risk for developing osteoporosis
may be able to help prevent the onset of the disease by simply eating more
foods that contain high levels of phytoestrogens."
Phytoestrogen's are a group of compounds found mainly in legumes such as
beans, peas, soybeans, lentils, soybean sprouts, podded plants and soy
products such as tofu and soymilk.