London: Drinking soy milk may protect women with polycystic ovary syndrome from heart disease and type 2 diabetes, a study has found. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition caused by a hormonal imbalance and stops the ovaries from working properly.
It can cause fertility problems, irregular periods, acne, weight gain, thinning hair on the scalp, and excess hair on the body. Researchers said compounds found in soy products, including soy milk or soybeans, can improve women’s heart and metabolic health. This is because soy is a source of plant estrogen, helping to correct the hormone imbalance triggered by PCOS.
Treat PCOS, Irregular Periods, Hormonal Imbalance
PCOS is one of the most common hormone disorders in women of reproductive age. It occurs when a woman’s body produces slightly higher amounts of testosterone – and other sex hormones – than normal. Women who have PCOS also face a higher risk of developing other health problems, including diabetes and coronary heart disease.
‘Our research found that women who have PCOS may benefit from incorporating soy in their diets,’ said the study’s first author, Dr. Zatollah Asemi, of Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Iran. She said this is the first study to examine the connection.
They noticed improvements in biological markers that reflect how well the body uses insulin to reduce sugars in the blood in women with PCOS who eat soy regularly.
These women also had lower levels of harmful cholesterol. As part of the study, they recruited 70 women aged between 18 and 40 with PCOS. The women were referred to the Kosar Clinic in Arak, Iran, between December 2015 and February 2016. Half of the women were randomly assigned to take a daily 50mg of a soy isoflavone supplement – the equivalent of 500ml of soy milk – daily for 12 weeks.
The other 35 women received a placebo. They were told to maintain their normal levels of exercise and asked to avoid taking other supplements during the study. Blood samples were taken from the women at the beginning and end of the study.
The blood samples were analyzed to measure hormone and fat levels, as well as biomarkers of insulin resistance and inflammation. Insulin resistance and inflammation are associated with diseases like type 2 diabetes, strokes, and heart disease.
In comparison to the placebo group, women who received their soy supplements had lower levels of circulating insulin in the blood – suggesting they were less resistant to the hormone. They also had lower levels of testosterone, harmful cholesterol known as LDL and triglycerides, or fats in the blood, than their counterparts who received the placebo.
‘There is growing interest in how adding soy to the diet can help address metabolic syndrome and related health conditions,’ Dr. Asemi said. ‘Our findings indicate consuming soy isoflavone regularly may help women with PCOS improve their metabolic and cardiovascular health.’ The study was published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. daily mail