Soy protein consumption could help protect against bone loss in post
menopausal women, suggests a new study that adds to previous findings
linking soy to bone health in women.
Published in the December 2008 issue of Osteoporosis International, the
study followed over 400 perimenopausal Chinese women for 30 months to
investigate change in bone mineral density and its determinants.
The findings revealed that the fastest bone loss occurred in women
undergoing menopause – but that soy protein intake seemed to exert a
positive effect on bone health, together with maintenance of body weight and
Soy and bone health
Limiting bone loss in post-menopausal women could ease the burden of
osteoporosis, a disease that affects half of all women over the age of 50.
According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, the total direct
cost of osteoporotic fractures is €31.7 bn in Europe alone.
Previous studies have reported conflicting results concerning soy
isoflavones (40 to 99 mg/d doses) and bone health for postmenopausal women.
But a recent meta-analysis added to the debate by reporting that such doses
of soy isoflavones (less than 90 mg/d) may improve bone density (Clinical
Moreover, other studies from China have linked soy isoflavones to increases
in bone mineral density (BMD), and a recent large study in the Archives of
Internal Medicine (2005, Vol. 165, pp. 1890-1895) reported that high soy
consumption was linked with a 48 per cent decrease in fractures for women
who had been menopausal for less than 10 years.
The new study recruited 438 Hong Kong Chinese women, aged 45 to 55 through
random telephone dialling and primary care clinic. Researchers took bone
mass, body composition and lifestyle measurements at baseline and at 9-, 18-
and 30-month follow-ups.
Menopausal status was classified as pre- or postmenopausal or transitional.
Using multiple regression analyses derived from baseline and follow-up
measurements, the researchers found that menopausal status was the strongest
determinant of bone changes.
Premenopausal women had an annual bone loss of around 0.5 per cent. Women in
the ‘transitional’ group had 2 to 2.5 per cent bone loss, and postmenopausal
women recorded around 1.5 per cent loss.
“Multiple regression analyses, revealed that a positive regression slope of
body weight was protective for follow-up bone loss at all sites. Number of
pregnancy, soy protein intake and walking were protective for total body BMC.
Higher baseline LM was also protective for neck of femur BMD,” wrote the
Source: 'Change in bone mineral density and its determinants in pre- and
perimenopausal Chinese women: the Hong Kong perimenopausal women
osteoporosis study' Osteoporosis International