Soy Offers Natural Estrogens

Many post-menopausal women are turning to soy as a natural supplement.

Drs. Kay Judge and Maxine Barish-Wreden

McClatchy Newspapers

March 30, 2010


If you're like many women, you may be reluctant to take hormones during the menopausal years because past studies seemed to recommend against it.

However, a more recent assessment of the data from the Women's Health Initiative was more favorable: It suggested that hormone replacement for younger women, ages 50-59, may not pose the cardiovascular risk that it does for older women. Women in this age group who took both estrogen and progesterone had no increase in cardiac mortality.

Specifically, the analysis showed that mortality and heart disease in women were reduced when hormone therapy was initiated within six years of menopause, started before age 60 and continued for five years or more.

It may still be too early to make recommendations for hormone therapy based on the above findings, and the FDA maintains its stance that:

"Estrogens and progestins should be used at the lowest doses for the shortest duration to reach treatment goals, although it is not known at what dose there may be less risk of serious side effects."

Given this confusion, it is not surprising that many women still shy away from hormones and go the natural route, relying on nutrition or other interventions to navigate the menopause. Here are a few things that may be helpful:


(Drs. Kay Judge and Maxine Barish-Wreden are medical directors of Sutter's Downtown Integrative Medicine program. They have written "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Secrets of Longevity" ($18.95, Alpha/Penguin Books). Have a question related to alternative medicine? E-mail fitness@sacbee.com.)