Use Soy Products For Hot Flashes

By Annette Caruso

Unpleasant symptoms accompany menopause for millions of women. Sudden rises in body temperature and 'night sweats' are among the most common complaints. Prescription drugs and artificial hormones can help mitigate the severity of these symptoms, but they have side effects that cause concern. Many women prefer to use soy shakes for hot flashes and other signs of hormonal imbalance.

Hot flashes happen as hormones begin to decline with age. A lack of estrogen is the main cause. As the body becomes deficient in this hormone, the pituitary gland release LH, or luteinizing hormone. This hormone does not boost estrogen levels, but it does cause an expansion of blood vessels in the face, neck, and torso. This raises body temperature and activates sweat glands. This reaction to LH can be uncomfortable and embarrassing.

Components of soy called isoflavones can replace the missing estrogen and thereby lessen or eliminate this uncomfortable reaction. The isoflavones are phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) that the body will accept. Soybeans are processed to concentrate these phytoestrogens, which are delivered in powders and capsules as supplements.

Genistein is one of the isoflavones that have been clinically proven to bind to receptors in human cells that absorb estrogen. Genistein should come from organic soy and be made by a reputable manufacturer. Many women take this supplement in capsule form as an easy way to get balance their systems.

There are other reasons for using soy foods and supplements besides suppressing annoying symptoms. When the system is low on needed hormones, it will absorb estrogen-like components of plastics and other modern chemicals. By consuming soy products, a woman can protect herself from these prevalent by-products of modern food packaging and processing. Since many of the chemicals are carcinogens, this is a wise practice.

If you would rather not take pills, you can eat soybeans and soybean foods. The fermented foods like tempeh, tofu, and miso eaten in oriental countries are believed to contribute to the lower rates of cancer in these countries. However, the isolated proteins used in energy bars and soymilk are not fermented and are less beneficial.

Many westerners don't care for the unfamiliar foods of the orient, however. Supplements can be an easy way to get the benefits of the soybean. Some products use fermented whole soybeans as the active ingredient.

Not all soybeans are healthy. Most of the beans grown in North America are genetically modified and are grown with heavy applications of herbicides. Reputable vitamin manufacturers and natural food producers will use only organic beans. The organic standards prohibit the application of chemicals to crops.

It's recommended that women eat whole, fresh foods, get adequate exercise, avoid spicy dishes and caffeine, and drink lots of water. A few simple steps and the right soyfoods or supplements can restore balance to your system and keep you free of hot flashes.

About the Author: