Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Men benefit from Soy Isoflavones as well as Women

Whilst the estrogen-like plant chemicals found in soy isoflavones have a vast amount of well-known benefits for women, new research has that soy isoflavones have significant benefits for men too, notably in the form of a reduction in the symptoms of benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH).

Many of the health benefits of soybeans are found in the isoflavones, which have been found in several studies to be effective in the treatment and prevention of many health conditions including breast cancer, heart disease, due to their ability to reduce cholesterol, and particularly menopausal symptoms and osteoporosis. Soy isoflavones are one of a group of plant chemicals, best known as phytoestrogens and have impressive abilities which can help to balance estrogen in the body.

Their effectiveness in treating conditions of excess estrogen, such as premestrual syndrome, is derived from the isoflavones’ ability to block receptor sites, whilst in conditions of estrogen deficiency, such as osteoporosis and menopausal symptoms, soy isoflavones can increase estrogen activity by acting as a weak estrogen.

Nonetheless, a new study published by the British Journal of Nutrition suggests the efficacy of soy isoflavones in the treatment and prevention of BPH, a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. Whilst unpleasant, BPH is a common ailment affecting the prostate of many ageing men which can exhibit various symptoms including trouble starting or maintaining urination, the need to urinate more often, urine leaks or the need to go during the night. Whilst it is thought to be testosterone that is responsible for the changes that cause to prostate to enlarge and put pressure on the urethra, the new study has found that estrogen also plays a key role.

The study into the effects of soy isoflavones on the symptoms of BPH was carried out on men aged 65 and over and found that those with an intake of at least 5 mg of isoflavones, had fewer urinary tract symptoms than those who did not. The researchers suggested that although 5mg is relatively low, it did have a positive effect and emphasises the fact that although low levels of soy isoflavones may be acquired from the diet, a daily natural supplement can significantly help to ensure optimum levels of the beneficial isoflavones to achieve the advantages of reduced BPH symptoms, helping to slow and even prevent prostate cancer growth.

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