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Health News Archive 168 - Blood Sugar
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Soy Lowers Blood Sugar, Insulin in Postmenopausal Women

Soy isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen, lowers fasting blood glucose and insulin levels in postmenopausal women, according to a study conducted at the National Taiwan University Hospital.

In their study, Taiwanese researchers found that modest amounts of soy isoflavones are as potent as conjugated estrogen in lowering blood glucose and insulin levels. The six-month trial examined two groups of postmenopausal women. One group received 100 mg of isoflavones daily, while the other group received a standard dose of 0.625 mg of conjugated estrogens. Both groups also took 300 mg of supplemental calcium a day. The researchers measured fasting glucose and insulin levels at baseline and at three and six months.

Compared to baseline values, fasting glucose and insulin levels declined significantly in both groups. Glucose levels fell to 85% and 83% of baseline levels in the isoflavone and estrogen groups, respectively. Similarly, insulin levels dropped to 67% and 56% of baseline values in the isoflavone and estrogen groups.

Soy isoflavones appear to protect against aberrant glucose metabolism in postmenopausal women. By lowering blood glucose and insulin levels, soy isoflavones may help protect against metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

Soy isoflavones are a popular alternative to synthetic hormone replacement therapy, with some epidemiological studies suggesting that they help alleviate menopausal symptoms and decrease the risk of cancer and heart disease.

Reference

Cheng SY, Shaw NS, Tsai KS, Chen CY. The hypoglycemic effects of soy isoflavones on postmenopausal women. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2004 Dec;13(10):1080-6.

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