The natural process of aging, as we know, involves myriads of complex changes that gradually occur. Women, in particular, face a slightly different aging path compared to men. For instance, the menopausal stage may mean a significant reduction of bone density in the body due to the lowering levels of estrogen produced by the body.
Several therapies have been proposed and studied to curb the onset of bone density reduction as strongly associated with the menopausal stage. Phytoestrogens, found in some species of plants and said to mimic the natural effects of human estrogens, have shown promising results in the prevention of bone density reduction.
Fortunately enough, studies show that phytoestrogens abound in many species of herbs, grains, and even fruits and vegetables.
Among types of phytoestrogens, three have been proven as the most potent and effective:
- isoflavones, which are found in legumes, chickpeas, and soy derivatives
- lignans, which are commonly found in tea, flaxseeds, bran, and even alcoholic beverages including beer
- coumestans, which can be derived from the alfalfa plant and clovers
Although medical research shows promising results on the potency of phytoestrogens, hormone replacement therapy that involves the use of such estrogen-like compounds has been mired with controversy. Hormone replacement therapy presents possible side effects such as an increased rate of heart disease, stroke, and breast cancer.
Research has yielded varying results on the use of phytoestrogens. While some research has shown significant improvement in the bone mass of subjects involved in studies, others have only shown minimal differences. More studies are needed to provide a reliable and safe approach to fighting the debilitating diseases such as osteoporosis and other bone-related disorders.
Phytoestrogens and Your Health
Some of the food groups high in phytoestrogens may cause allergic reactions in some individuals. Thus, seeking professional medical help is indeed necessary when considering the option of hormone replacement therapy.
Vitamins and minerals also play a crucial role in the prevention, delay, or treatment of post-menopausal conditions. For instance, the supplementation of vitamin D and calcium has also shown promising results. However, talking with your physician is advisable before you start taking vitamin and calcium supplements. Usually, blood tests are taken to determine the precise levels of calcium and Vitamin D in your blood. This information will guide your physician in providing the best course of action and treatment.