We determined the effect of red clover derived isoflavone supplementation on the lipid profile of postmenopausal women with increased body mass index (BMI). Sixty postmenopausal women aged 40 years and older, HT non-users, were randomly assigned to one of two groups: either two capsules of 80 mg red clover isoflavones daily for a 90-day period or placebo. After a 7-day washout period, medication was crossed-over for another 90 days. Total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and lipoprotein A (LpA) levels were assessed at baseline, 90 and 180 days. Women were divided into two groups: those with increased BMI (>or=25 kg/m(2)) and those with BMI
The unexpected results of the Women's Health Initiative study have decreased the use of conventional hormone therapy, changing physicians' and patients' attitudes towards hormone therapy and increasing their interest in alternative options. The present study aimed to evaluate the effect of isoflavones contained in red clover extracts (Trifolium pratense) on menopausal symptoms, lipids and vaginal cytology in menopausal women. Sixty postmenopausal women aged >40 years, non-users of hormone therapy, with Kupperman index score 15, were double-blindly randomized to receive either a commercially available red clover isoflavone supplement (80 mg/day) or placebo for 90 days. Subsequently, after a 7-day washout period, subjects switched to receive the opposite treatment for a further 90 days. Results. There was no significant effect on body mass index, weight or blood pressure after either treatment phase. Red clover isoflavone supplementation significantly decreased the rate of menopausal symptoms and had a positive effect on vaginal cytology as expressed by improvement in karyopyknotic cornification and basal cell maturation indices. Mean total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol and triglyceride levels also decreased; however, only the latter was significantly lower compared with placebo. Compared with placebo, red clover isoflavone supplementation in postmenopausal women significantly decreased menopausal symptoms and had a positive effect on vaginal cytology and triglyceride levels.
Isoflavone phytoestrogen therapy has been proposed as a natural alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT has a beneficial effect on bone, but few trials in humans have investigated the effects of isoflavones on bone. The objective of the study was to determine the effect on bone density of a red clover-derived isoflavone supplement that provided a daily dose of 26 mg biochanin A, 16 mg formononetin, 1 mg genistein, and 0.5 mg daidzein for 1 y. Effects on biochemical markers of bone turnover and body composition were also studied. Women aged 49-65 y were enrolled in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial; 177 completed the trial. Bone density, body composition, bone turnover markers, and diet were measured at baseline and after 12 mo. Loss of lumbar spine bone mineral content and bone mineral density was significantly lower in the women taking the red clover isoflavone supplement than in those taking the placebo. There were no significant treatment effects on hip bone mineral content or bone mineral density, markers of bone resorption, or body composition, but bone formation markers were significantly increased in the red clover group compared with placebo in postmenopausal women. These data suggest that, through attenuation of bone loss, red clover isoflavones have a potentially protective effect on the lumbar spine in women.
Isoflavones are hypothesized to protect against breast cancer, but it is not clear whether they act as estrogens or anti-estrogens in breast tissue. Our aim was to determine the effects of taking a red clover derived isoflavone supplement daily for 1 year on mammographic breast density. Effects on estradiol, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), lymphocyte tyrosine kinase activity and menopausal symptoms were also assessed. A total of 205 women (age range 49-65 years) with Wolfe P2 or DY mammographic breast patterns were randomly assigned to receive either a red clover derived isoflavone tablet (26 mg biochanin A, 16 mg formononetin, 1 mg genistein and 0.5 mg daidzein) or placebo. In contrast to studies showing that conventional hormone replacement therapies increase mammographic breast density, the red clover isoflavone supplement did not increase mammographic breast density in this population of women. Furthermore, there were no effects on estradiol, gonadotrophins, lymphocyte tyrosine kinase activity, or menopausal symptoms.
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