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Isoflavones curb spinal bone loss new UK research shows
Isoflavones, which are plant oestrogens, are increasingly being used by older women as an alternative to HRT and also appear to have a valuable part in keeping the bones strong.
Medical Research Council researchers at the Institute of Public Health in Cambridge report that women who took isoflavones for a year had “significantly lower” loss of spinal mineral content than women who took a placebo. The report in the issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition could have important implications for bone health for women in later life.
The scientists recruited 205 women aged 49-65 into the double blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial in which one group took a daily isoflavone supplement and another group took a daily placebo. Of these 177 completed the trial.
Bone density and markers of bone turnover were measured at the start of the study and 12 months later. Loss of bone mineral content and loss of bone mineral density from the lumbar spine were significantly lower in women taking isoflavone supplement than in those taking the placebo.
The researchers conclude that this data suggest that “isoflavones may have a potentially protective effect on the lumbar spine in women”.
Meanwhile, in The Netherlands researchers at the University Medical Centre Utrecht are looking at the effects of isoflavones on the bones of post-menopausal women. In the ongoing programme, they will also be looking at the effects on cardiovascular disease and general well being. The Dutch researchers recruited 202 women, aged 60-75 to take 99 mg of soya isoflavones or a placebo for a year.
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