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Botanical Choices



In the United States many women are turning to natural or botanical choices for relief from their menopausal symptoms. Plant hormones, phytoestrogens and phytosterols are becoming more popular. It is said that around the world many cultures have traditionally relied upon these botanil sources either by choice or as a part of their daily nutritional routine. In fact, less developed (but less stressful) societies that have traditionally relied upon diets high in wild yam (diosgenins) or soy seem to have substantially lower menopausal symptoms than are common in the U.S. The most notable is a study of the Trobriand Island tribe near New Guinea where the wild yam is well venerated and central to their diet. They seem to show no signs of menopausal change as women in this country know it.

These phytoestrogens and phytosterols have effects that are biochemically quite complex. They seem to act either as weak forms of estrogen stimulators (agonist receptor-site action) or in other cases as protective against higher levels of estrogens by the competitive inhibition (antagonist receptor-site action) or in other cases protective against higher levels of estrogens by competitive inhibition (and sometimes at the same time) they are weak stimulators of those same sites in ways that provide the protection against declining natural estrogen levels.

Phytoestrogens-Soy Isoflavones

Fourteen clinical trials show that Soy Isoflavones can help manage midlife by reducing hot flashes and other common symptoms of menopause. Soy consumption has been shown to significantly improve a woman's comfort and health during perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause. A recent medical review in American Family Physician (the journal of the prestigious American Association of Family Physicians) states that, "Soy has been found to significantly reduce the incidence of hot flashes associated with menopause."

Scientists became very interested in soy's potential role for menopause support after demographic studies revealed that only 9% of women living in Asia, where the diet is rich in soy, experienced hot flashes during midlife, in contrast to almost 80–90% of Western women who suffer through menopause.

Many scientists feel that soy isoflavones, which are similar to the body's estrogen in structure, supports health by lightly binding to estrogen receptors, thus, producing some of the benefits of estrogen without negative side effects.

Because soy has been shown to support menopause, energy, bone and heart health, many doctors now recommend soy as a safe, effective dietary supplement to help women support a healthy midlife transition and beyond.

Natural Alternative for Menopause

Soy Isoflavones

Soy isoflavones are phytochemicals(naturally occurring plant chemicals) in soy products. Some isoflavones, such as genistein and daidzein, exert mild estrogenic effects and are thus called phytoestrogens. Structurally similar to estrogen, soy isoflavones have the capacity to bind to empty estrogen receptors and relieve hormonally based symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes. It is this ability to decrease hormone reception that also seems to be the mechanism by which phytoestrogens such as soy isoflavones prevent hormone-dependent cancers.
 
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