What are Soy Isoflavones?

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  • Written By: Kat Yares
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 16 August 2019
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Soy Isoflavones are phytochemicals, and are found in the soybean plant. They were discovered while scientists were researching longevity of Asians with respect to that of people from the Western world. They concluded that the significant difference in diet was soybean consumption. This discovery led to further studies on the soybean plant itself, and in these studies isoflavones were discovered.

One critical isoflavone-related discovery was that of a particular class of isoflavones known as phytoestrogen. Estrogen is needed by women's bodies during and after menopause. The phytoestrogen found in soybean and soy products help to replace the natural estrogen as women cease production of sufficient quantities of their own.

This became extremely important to women approaching menopausal age since the discovery that other forms of hormone replacement therapy had severe side effects.

Soy isoflavones have also shown that they are good anti-oxidants and help protect the cardiovascular system from bad cholesterol or LDLs. Studies have shown that another element of soy isoflavones is genistein, which protect plaque growth in the arteries.

Independent research has also proven that soy isoflavones build bone density and help keep bones from deterioration due to the compound daidzein along with genistein.


New studies are researching the benefits of soy isoflavones in the prevention of cancer, particularly breast and prostate. Other research suggests that soy isoflavones may be effective for fighting cancer as well as pharmaceutical drugs.

The best way to take advantage of soy isoflavones is by eating soy products, including tofu, textured soy protein, soymilk, and by eating the beans themselves. Soy foods are considered by many nutritionists as a 'perfect' food. Not only do they contain soy isoflavones in abundant supply, they are a good source of all major vitamins and protein.

Soy foods can replace meat, especially red meat, in almost any recipe. No longer found only in health food stores, soy foods can be purchased in almost any grocery store and even in some convenience stores as well.

Soy foods are a staple of the vegetarian and vegan diets; many who live without consuming meat claim fewer problems with blood pressure, cholesterol and obesity.

Some claim that it is beneficial to include a soy isoflavone supplement to your diet; these supplements are available at most health food stores and vitamin shops. Many products are also available especially formulated for menopausal and premenopausal women; these products contain soy isoflavones along with other herbs and are intended to control hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.


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Post 1

More than two cups of soy, such as milk and tofu, a week can increase the incidence of a type of seizure disorder I've experienced since I was 20. It starts with a feeling of deja vu.

I'm totally aware of the environment and in control of my body, but the feeling is unpleasant, rises up and washed down like a wave. I can feel tired after. The problem has been verified by brain scans (I forget what type), but never medicated.

I rarely get it now that I'm 15 years post menopause, but during menopause there was a time of frequent occurrences ( 3-5 a day) for a few weeks. Then a big drop. If anyone has had similar problems, it would be interesting. I also get migraine visual symptoms without a headache ( zig zag crescent shaped distortions).

Incidence of that has also decreased as I age.

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