Phytoestrogens from Soy and Red Clover for Managing Menopause

Learn how to counteract these changes naturally

Menopause is a crucial stage in every woman’s life, as it marks the natural end of her fertile years. The perimenopausal phase, the time prior to the cessation of menstruation, is normally characterized by a reduction in the levels of estrogen produced by the body, which can cause symptoms related to the mechanisms controlling the size of blood vessels, including hot flashes, night sweats and sleep disturbances.

For many years, the traditional treatment has been hormone replacement therapy, but due to serious concerns about the elevated risk for certain chronic illnesses, such as cancer, more and more women are seeking alternative methods. Some of the most recent treatments are based on supplements enriched with phytoestrogens, which are plant-derived compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen and that can prevent or treat certain illnesses.

Phytoestrogens are steroid-free, plant-derived compounds of varying chemical structure, which are found in fruits, vegetables and grains, specially red clover, soy and alfalfa.

n order to understand phytoestrogens, you must first understand that estrogens are, in essence, the female hormones responsible for a woman’s sexual and physical development, among other functions. Obviously, the production of these hormones gradually changes during menopause.

There are various types of phytoestrogens, but the most common are coumestans, lignans and isoflavones. These compounds have a similar chemical structure to the female hormones produced in your body.

Isoflavones (genistein and daidzein), which are the most potent phytoestrogens in terms of their estrogen-like effects, are found almost exclusively in legumes, such as soy, garbanzos, lentils and beans. Red clover (trifolium pratense) is also a significant source of isoflavones, as it contains components that are metabolized into genistein and daidzein once it is consumed.

Soy supplements also contain these compounds, which are subjected to various metabolic actions in your body. However, it is very important that you use a product that is guaranteed by the manufacturer to be purified and standardized so that your body will absorb it correctly.

According to the Central American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, there have been numerous studies suggesting that these compounds are beneficial “to the heart, the bones, the breasts and overall health during the period prior to menopause, also known as climacteric period.” Nevertheless, these compounds also have their detractors. The one thing everyone agrees on is that they do not involve any health risks.

Furthermore, they have been shown to inhibit the development of certain types of cancer, a property that has caused them to gain widespread popularity among users.

Numerous benefits have been attributed to isoflavones, such as:

1) Anti-carcinogenic benefits: These compounds can help prevent prostate, colon and breast cancer, thanks to their antioxidant action.