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Multicenter study finds little effect of soy isoflavones on bone loss in postmenopausal women
Date:2/9/2010

AMES, Iowa -- A previous six-month study by Iowa State University researchers had indicated that consuming modest amounts of soy protein, rich in isoflavones, lessened lumbar spine bone loss in midlife, perimenopausal women. But now an expanded three-year study by some of those same researchers does not show a bone-sparing effect in postmenopausal women who ingested soy isoflavone tablets, except for a modest effect at the femoral (hip) neck among those who took the highest dosage.

The multi-center clinical trial of 224 postmenopausal women -- led by D. Lee Alekel, professor of nutrition and interim associate director of the Nutrition and Wellness Research Center (NWRC) at Iowa State, and supported by the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, one of the research institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) -- was the longest ever conducted on the effects of soy isoflavones on bone mineral density (BMD). It compared the effects of either ingesting daily 80-mg daily or 120-mg soy isoflavone tablets, compared to placebo tablets on BMD and other health outcomes.

Iowa State NWRC researchers collaborated with research physiologist Marta D. Van Loan and her colleagues at the USDA Agricultural Research Service's Western Human Nutrition Research Center, located at the University of California, Davis. The primary results of their study were published in the January issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

"Our six-month preliminary study, published in 2000, indicated that soy protein, rich in isoflavones, exerted the greatest impact in slowing the loss of bone mineral density in the lumbar spine," Alekel said. "But we believed that we needed to replicate these results in a study with a greater sample size and longer duration, which is what we did with this three-year intervention.

"In this longer study, we had sufficient power to detect change," she continued. "We monitored adverse
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Contact: Mike Ferlazzo
ferlazzo@iastate.edu
515-294-8986
Iowa State University
Source:Eurekalert

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