When estrogen production drops during menopause, it results in a higher risk of hypercholesterolemia and hypertension in postmenopausal women. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can have beneficial effects for these women. It lowers blood lipid concentration and increases arterial compliance in postmenopausal women. However its long-term safety is under discussion. Isoflavones may be a natural alternative for HRT. Isoflavones, found in abundance in soybeans, are compounds with a weak estrogenic effect. In this study they were evaluated for their effects on blood lipid parameters and blood pressure in postmenopausal women.
Women entering menopause are at an increased risk of developing high cholesterol/triglyceride levels, as well as high blood pressure. Isoflavones help prevent or inhibit the increase in LDL (bad) cholesterol – which leads to an improvement in the LDL/HDL ratio
No significant change in systolic blood pressure was measured. However, there was a significant reduction in diastolic blood pressure of 12%.
After the isoflavone treatment, no significant change was observed in body weight or in blood concentrations of total cholesterol (TC). However, a reduction in lowdensity lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C, the “bad” cholesterol) was found. Blood concentrations of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C, the “good” cholesterol) were elevated by 5%
- Curtis et al 2012 Chronic Ingestion of Flavan-3-ols and Isoflavones improves Insulin Sensitivity and Lipoprotein Status and Attenuates Estimated 10-year CVD Risk in Medicated Postmenopausal Women With Type 2 Diabetes, Diabetes Care 35:226-232, 2012.
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- lerici et al 2007 Pasta naturally enriched with isoflavone aglycons from soy germ reduces serum lipids and improves markers of cardiovascular risk, J. Nutr. 137 (2007), 2270-2278.
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- Song et al 2003 Soy protein with or without isoflavones, soy germ and soy germ extract, and daidzein lessen plasma cholesterol levels in golden Syrian hamsters, Exp. Biol. Med. 228 (2003), 1063-1068.