Soybeans and plants to soften menopause |Jdm

A randomized clinical study reports that women who adopt a diet rich in plants and soybeans are much less affected by heat puffs typical of menopause.

Episodic heat puffs affect more than 75 % of women reaching the age of menopause.

These intense heat sensations are frequently felt in the chest, neck and face, and are accompanied by sweats and general discomfort that affect sleep, mood and general well-being.

Heat puffs can start a few years before menopause as such (defined as a period of 12 months without menstruation) and generally last one or two years, but can sometimes continue to manifest up to 30 years after menopause.

From a physiological point of view, these hot flashes are called vasomotor symptoms, that is to say that they are caused by excessive dilation of blood vessels.

The exact mechanisms seem to involve the drop in estrogen levels in circulation which causes a disruption of the body temperature control system.The hypothalamus of the brain detects (wrongly) a sudden increase in body temperature and activates the two systems immediately involved in the dissipation of this heat, the vasodilation of the blood vessels and perspiration.

Food and menopause

Even if hormone therapy remains the most frequently used way to treat symptoms related to menopause, several observations suggest that other factors, linked to lifestyle, could also play a role.

For example, a study carried out in the 1980s in Japan showed that Japanese women were less affected by these episodes of hot flashes than women living in Western countries (1), a phenomenon also observed in other Asian countries.

Le soja et les végétaux pour adoucir la ménopause | JDM

One thing in common with these women is the abundant consumption of soy -based foods (Tofu, Miso, Tempeh), a legume containing significant amounts of phytoestrogens such as Gennistine, Daidzein and Glylitus isoflavones.

One of these molecules, Daidzein, is metabolized by intestinal bacteria in Equol, a non -steroidal compound that binds to estrogen receptors, and it has been proposed that this interaction could help to alleviate the impact of the fall of the estrogens whichoccurs during menopause.

In this sense, it is interesting to note that the Japanese diet has been considerably westernized in recent years (more meat, less soy) and that this transition has been accompanied by an increase in the incidence ofheat puffs (2).

Reduction of symptoms

The results of a randomized clinical study suggest that the nature of the diet can effectively influence the frequency and severity of menopause symptoms (3).

In this study, the researchers recruited women who reported two or more episodes of heat per day and separated them randomly into two groups, a control group without modifications to their eating habits and an intervention group,where the participants were subject to an exclusively vegetable diet and comprising 1⁄2 cup of soy beans cooked per day.

For a period of twelve weeks, the participants identified the episodes of heat puffs using a mobile application and the impact of these symptoms on their quality of life was evaluated using a standard questionnaire(Menopause Specific Quality of Life Questionnaire).

The results are spectacular: the sum of heat puff episodes has decreased twice as much in the intervention group compared to control (79 % vs 49 %), a particularly marked decrease for more severe episodes (84 % vs 42 %).

Even more interesting, at the end of the study 59 % of the participants of the intervention group had no episode of moderate or severe heat, while no change was observed in the control group.

These reductions in the frequency and severity of symptoms are much greater than those observed previously during studies on soybeans.

According to the authors, it is likely that it is the combination of a diet rich in plants with soybeans that would explain this superiority: a diet mainly based on the consumption of plants modifies the intestinal microbiome and promotes the establishment of specialized bacteria inThe conversion of isoflavones into stool, the molecule responsible for their estrogenic effects.

This possibility remains to be established, but certain thing, it is an avenue which deserves to be explored by women who are struggling with severe symptoms of menopause and who seek a way to improve their quality oflife.


(1) Lock M. Menopause: Lessons from Anthropology.Psychosom Med.1998;60: 410-419.

(2) Melby MK.Vasomotor symptom prevalence and language of menopause in japan.Menopause 2005;12: 250-257.

(3) Barnard ND et al.The Women’s Study for the Alleviation of Vasomotor Symptoms (Wavs): A Randomized, Controlled Trial of A Plant-Based Diet and Whole Soybeans for Postmenopausal Women.Menopause, published on July 12, 2021.

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