Soy Isoflavones Improve Hormone Outcomes in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome


Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is one of the most common hormone disorders in the U.S. among women ages 18 to 40. Frequently, women with PCOS develop complications that lead to diabetes and heart disease, such as excessive insulin and testosterone, impaired glucose utilization, and elevated triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Researchers at the Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Center in Iran wanted to determine if soy isoflavones had an effect on the complications associated with PCOS.

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 70 women were either given 50 mg/d soy isoflavones or a placebo for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, women who were given soy isoflavones had significantly decreased insulin levels and improved glucose utilization, which can decrease the risk of diabetes; decreased testosterone levels, which can reduce excessive hair growth or hair loss; and lower levels of triglycerides and LDL levels in their blood, which can reduce the risk of heart disease.

Soyfoods are a common source of isoflavones. For example, firm tofu has about 19mg of isoflavones per half-cup serving, soymilk has 26mg per 1-cup serving, and 1 ounce of soy protein isolate has 27mg, according to the USDA database.?These findings suggest that daily soy isoflavone intake from soyfoods may potentially reduce the risk of complications associated with PCOS.