Soy Supplements for Women with Breast Cancer

Some menopausal and postmenopausal women find symptom relief through conventional estrogen replacement therapy (ERT). Moreover, ERT has been associated with benefits such as preservation of cardiovascular, skeletal, genitourinary, and cognitive health.
Unfortunately, this therapy is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, dissuading some women from using it and excluding its application for breast cancer survivors.

Soybeans are very high in phytoestrogens, hormone-like compounds found in plant foods. They’re also high in isoflavones, phytoestrogens that are chemically close to the human female hormone estrogen.
Not surprisingly, despite its benefits, less than 20 percent of women in the United States use ERT. Many women explore alternative approaches to estrogen replacement to eliminate the risks of conventional ERT, with the hope of reaping the benefits.

Soybeans are known to be rich in naturally occurring compounds with estrogen-like activity. Several studies of these popular soy-derived phytoestrogens (PEs) yielded unclear and contradictory results, leaving open the question of whether soy may protect against breast cancer or, like conventional ERT, cause its emergence.
NCCAM intends to study these issues and assess the impact in a phase II clinical trial of PE supplementation on the health of women after a breast cancer diagnosis.

Some foods such as soy foods provide well-absorbed calcium. Factors that enhance calcium absorption include adequate vitamin D and protein.
Numerous studies have shown that soy foods and supplements can lower cholesterol levels and improve the ratio of LDL to HDL (usual dosage is 47 g per day).
Soy isoflavones may help reduce menopausal symptoms (hotfl ashes); preliminary research suggests it may reduce the risk of breast, uterine, and colon cancer, and benefit those with osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
It is not recommended for those with impaired thyroid function; high supplemental intake is not recommended during pregnancy.

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FACTS ABOUT SOY BENEFITS:

  • Soy protein has been shown to significantly lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and protect against bone loss.
  • Soy products contain phytoestrogens, which can help balance hormone levels and counter the effects of excess estrogen stimulation. Soy also contains amino acids which aid in detoxification
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