Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania reviewed more than 1000 articles in the world's scientific literature and found no evidence that soy-based or plant-based phytoestrogens can replace the standard estrogen pills prescribed by your doctor.

Here are their conclusions: *Most evidence for possible benefit from phytoestrogens comes from laboratory studies. Little evidence comes from human trials. *Laboratory studies have found that isoflavones from soybeans may have anti-cancer activity but the evidence is not sufficient to recommend them for that purpose. *It is uncertain whether administering genestein from soybeans to women would inhibit or promote breast cancer. *Although evidence exists that soy protein may reduce high cholesterol levels, there are no human data on the long-term effects of soy in cardiovascular disease prevention. *Few controlled studies have looked at the effects of soybean phytoestrogens on menopausal symptoms. Although three studies found statistically significant lessening of certain symptoms, the effects were to small to have practical significance.

See report #1320.

Glazier MG., Bowman MA. A review of the evidence for the use of phytoestrogens as a replacement for traditional estrogen replacement therapy. Archives of Internal Medicine 161:1161-1172, 2001]

Circulation July 24, 2001

Reported 7/30/01; checked 9/3/05

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