- A new study suggests that a low-fat plant-based diet rich in soy is as effective as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for reducing hot flashes.
- The 12-week trial found that a diet rich in plants reduced moderate to severe hot flashes by 88%.
- The diet may also have helped women lose an average of 8 pounds and improve their quality of life.
- Some experts say the study is not strong enough and that HRT is still the best option for reducing severe hot flashes.
- More research is needed to determine the effect of diet on reducing menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes.
A recent study reported that a plant-based diet rich in soy can relieve menopausal symptoms just as effectively as hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
The Women’s Alleviation of Vasomotor Symptoms Study (WAVS) The trial found that this food-based approach reduced moderate to severe hot flashes by 88%. HRT has been shown to improve these symptoms by 70% – 90%.
Furthermore, the trial participants lost an average of 8 pounds during the 12-week study.
“We don’t fully understand why this combination works, but these three seem to be key – avoid animal products, reduce fat, and add a serving of soybeans. Our results mirror diets in places in the world, such as formerly western Japan and the Yucatan Peninsula. Modern day, where a low-fat, plant-based diet including soy is prevalent and where postmenopausal women experience fewer symptoms.”
These results were recently published in Menopause: Journal of the North American Menopause Society.
Vasomotor symptoms include frequent hot flashes, night sweats, and fluctuations in blood pressure.
Medical news today Discuss this study with Dr. C. Thomas Ruiz, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Memorial Care Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. He was not involved in this research.
Dr. Ruiz explained that vasomotor symptoms arise primarily from changes in the Ovarian-pituitary-ovarian axiswhich regulates the secretion of sex hormones.
The hypothalamus, located in the center of the brain, helps control the internal thermostat.
The fluctuations and decreases of hormone levels during menopause cause disruption to the hypothalamus. Hot flashes happen when an area of the brain tries to reset its temperature, Dr. Ruiz said.
Dr. Barnard and his research team recruited postmenopausal women between the ages of 40 and 65 for the parallel design study in September 2020 and February 2021.
Out of 1662 respondents, 71 remained for the final data analysis.
The intervention group followed a low-fat plant-based diet with ½ cup of cooked, non-GMO soybeans daily for 12 weeks. The control group did not make any changes in diet.
Both groups took a daily vitamin B12 supplement and were told not to take any other supplements or change medications or exercise regimens.
A mobile application recorded the frequency and severity of hot flashes.
Complete the participants Quality of life for menopause Survey to record motor, physical, psychological, social and sexual symptoms.
Why limit healthy fats?
The diet recommended in the study was inspired in part by a traditional Japanese diet that emphasizes plant foods, soy products, and low amounts of oils.
MNT Dr. Barnard asked about limiting even “healthy” oils and fats, such as nuts and avocados:
“The fats in nuts and avocados are healthier than the fats in dairy and meat. The former is low in saturated fat, and the latter is full of it. But we often reduce fats of all kinds in our research studies. Oils and fats — “good” or “bad” — tend to interfere in weight loss [and] Losing the extra weight seems to help with hot flashes.”
Oils and fats modify the activity of estrogen. “During the study, we found that those women who carefully avoided oily foods seemed to have faster benefits,” Dr. Barnard added.
A dietary intervention regimen may lead to a significant reduction in menopausal symptoms.
The total hot flash frequency in the fall group (September 2020) decreased by 78% in the intervention group and decreased by 39% in the control group.
Moderate to severe hot flashes in the spring intervention group (February 2021) decreased by 88%, while the control experienced a 34% decrease.
Women experiencing seven or more hot flashes per day at the start of the study experienced a 93% reduction in symptoms in the intervention group. The control group had 36% fewer symptoms at the end of the study.
Researchers have found that reducing fat consumption and increasing fiber intake is associated with fewer severe hot flashes.
Members of the intervention group lost an average of 7.93 pounds, while participants in the control group lost an average of half a pound.
saw d. Ruiz has a flaw in the cohort study design. He argued that the double-blind study was “the only truly way to arrive at an observation that might be clinically meaningful.”
A healthy diet will help you in general because it is beneficial [you] “I feel better overall,” Dr. Ruiz said, adding that people who regularly eat healthily are also more likely to exercise as well.
Dr Ruiz added that the study’s small sample increased the likelihood of a “huge placebo effect”.
The study authors acknowledged that placebo effects cannot be ruled out. It should also be noted that many of the study’s co-authors received compensation from the Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine for their contributions.
“When the results are very robust and consistent, a smaller sample can demonstrate the effect,” Dr. Barnard said.
“In this case, the 88% reduction in moderate to severe hot flashes is enormous, and statistically speaking, there are less than 1 [in] 1000 that this is due to chance. Our sample of 84 women was more than twice the size needed to demonstrate the effect.”
Dr. Barnard hopes that future investigations will evaluate this study’s dietary approach for other conditions that cause hot flashes.
For example, he said that people with breast cancer or Prostate cancer Dealing with hot flashes. So far, they have limited relief options.
“Either way, a low-fat plant-based diet, plus soy, would be exactly the diet they should be eating clinically,” said Dr. Barnard.
Dr. Ruiz notes that most women experience mild to moderate hot flashes, and some individuals have no symptoms at all.
According to Dr. Ruiz, HRT remains the best treatment for women with severe motor symptoms.
“FDA-approved prescribing information for any dangerous HRT preparation lists
For estrogen alone, listed risks include endometrial cancer, stroke, deep venous thrombosis, and dementia. For the estrogen and progestin combinations, risks include breast cancer, stroke, deep venous thrombosis, dementia, and myocardial infarction. A low-fat vegan diet plus soy is safe and effective, and all side effects are good. [such as] Losing weight and lowering cholesterol.
– Dr. Ruiz, gynecology
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