Soy milk may help women with polycystic ovaries
Soy milk could help women who suffer polycystic ovary syndrome fight off type 2 diabetes and heart disease, new research has found.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) stops the ovaries working normally and is caused by an imbalance in hormones, with symptoms including irregular periods, weight gain and thinning hair. But scientists found compounds in soy products, like milk or beans, can help females’ metabolic health and their hearts because of the plant oestrogen, which evens out the hormones.
The study saw 70 women aged between 18 and 40, all suffering PCOS, referred to the Kosar Clinic in Arak, Iran, with half randomly assigned 50mg of a soy isoflavone (compounds that exert oesterogen-like effects) supplement for 12 weeks while the second half were given a placebo. Told to avoid other supplements during this time and exercise like they normally do, at the end of the 12 weeks blood samples were taken and analysed for fat and hormone levels, and signs of inflammation and insulin resistance – associated with health problems like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Women who took soy had lower levels of circulating insulin, harmful cholesterol called LDL, testosterone and triglycerides – fats in the blood – than those who took placebos.
“Our research found that women who have PCOS may benefit from incorporating soy in their diets,” the study's first author, Dr Zatollah Asemi, of Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Iran, said.
“There is growing interest in how adding soy to the diet can help address metabolic syndrome and related health conditions. Our findings indicate consuming soy isoflavone regularly may help women with PCOS improve their metabolic and cardiovascular health.”
Findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.