A new study has debunked all claims that dietary supplements which 'have the power of estrogen and help postmenopausal women with bone health' may not be as effective as previously believed.
Women who are menopausal or postmenopausal produce less estrogen, that leads to bone loss. Estrogen hormone replacement therapy was the traditional treatment, but it is no longer recommended for the long term because of links to stroke, embolism and breast cancer.
"We found that some plant-derived isoflavones have a modest effect on suppressing bone loss during post-menopause, but more concerning is many dietary supplements that claim to have the power of estrogen do not," said Connie Weaver, distinguished professor of foods and nutrition at Purdue University.
"It's buyer beware. Some of the supplements in our study claimed to be substitutes for estrogen, yet they weren't effective at all or weren't as effective as some of the current treatments for osteoporosis," Weaver added.
Weaver suggests that healthy bones can be maintained by a good diet that is rich in calcium and regular exercise that includes strength training.
During the study, the researchers compared the four isoflavones to a traditional bisphosphonate treatment, risedronate and estrogen plus progesterone.
These traditional therapies decreased bone loss 22 percent to 24 percent, but only soy isoflavones from the cotyledon and germ significantly decreased bone loss by 9 percent and 5 percent, respectively.
The findings also indicate that the soy cotyledon was more effective because of its higher genistein content.
The findings are published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.