Diets Rich In Isoflavone Help The Heart After Menopause


Several researches have suggested a connection between Asian diets that are rich in isoflavone and reduced risks of problems during menopause among Japanese women. These risks include lower rates of ailments related to the cardiovascular system. According to the findings of one of the first researches on the extract of a purified red clover (scientific name Trifolium pratens), scientists have discovered that the dietary supplement enhances the compliance of the arteries in women in their postmenopausal stage. In other words, isoflavone-rich diets help to improve the flexibility of the large arteries.

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It may be noted that declining arterial compliance through and after menopause has been identified as increasing the risks of developing heart ailments among women at a later stage in their life.

Precisely speaking, scientists in Australia examined two separate doses of the extract from red clover in comparison to placebo in a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study. Following a first three to four face-off stage and a five-week placebo phase for all the participants in the study, the women were placed in two groups for treatment for a further 10 weeks' period.

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It has been said that in the initial five weeks of the active therapy, women participating in the study either took one tablet of red clover containing 40 mg of isoflavones as well as one or tow placebo tablet(s) every day. In the final five weeks of the research, the dose of the group taking red clover tablets was doubled - two red clover tablets, i.e. 80 mg of isoflavones, every day. The red clover tablets (Promensil® manufactured by North Ryde-based Novogen Ltd. in Australia) was standardized to enclose four isoflavones - 24.5 mg of biochanin, 4 mg of genistein, 8 mg of formononetin and 3.5 mg of daidzein.

When the study began, none of the participating women had any obvious cardiovascular ailment. All the participants were asked to put an end to the use of any medicine or supplements that had the potential of influencing the health of the cardiovascular system for a minimum of six weeks before the start of the therapy. In addition, all the women participants were directed to shun consuming legumes that are rich in isoflavones, for instance soy for the duration of the study. Following each treatment phase, including run-in, placebo and two active periods, the scientists evaluated the arterial compliance making use of facilities like ultrasound in addition to absorption of isoflavonoid by the body and the cholesterol levels in the bloodstream.

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The outcome of the research by the Australian study showed an arithmetically noteworthy augmentation in arterial compliance in the group taking tablets containing red clover extract in comparison to placebo - an assessment of 23.7 against 16 in the group taking placebo. While none of the groups complained of any side effects, the impact on the health of the heart was akin to that of a placebo-controlled research undertaken in 1998 on hormone replacement therapy (HRT). In fact, the study conducted by the Australian scientists found that the arterial compliance in women participating in their study was 24 per cent more than those who took the hormone replacement therapy in the study undertaken in 1998.

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Taking into account the number of grave side effects related to the hormone replacement therapy, the outcome of the red clover extract treatment is particularly inspiring. Women who took HRT complained of side effects, such as hypertension, augmented risk of depression, breast cancer as well as other problems. However, the red clover study conducted by the Australian scientists showed that besides the absence of any side effects, there was a 10 per cent fall in the ratio of damaging LDL (low density lipoproteins) cholesterol, which actually declined against the helpful HDL (high density lipoproteins), which showed an increase, while the change was not scientifically significant when evaluated with different placebos. In fact, there was virtually no or little difference between the impacts of the two dosage regimen (40 mg and 80 mg isoflavones) examined during the course of the study by the Australian scientists with red clover.

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However, this study also had its shortcomings. One of the major disadvantages of this research was the very small number of participants (17 in all), including a group of three women who were given placebo. Moreover, the statistics available from the group of women taking placebo were not put through any statistical analysis as the number of the subjects was very small.

It is interesting to note that in the beginning the placebo group comprised five women, but two of them dropped out complaining that they endured the return of unbearable menopausal symptoms that necessitated hormone replacement therapy (HRT). In fact, it may be mentioned that this study by the Australian scientists was not particularly intended to examine the impact of red clover on the menopausal symptoms like hot flashes etc. Nevertheless, interestingly, none of the subjects taking the red clover tablets left the study owing to any complaint related to menopausal symptoms.

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