Suffering from hot flashes? According to a new study published in the journal Menopause, soy or soy extracts may just be what you need to cool down. Not everyone agrees about soy’s reputed effects, but there are also a number of people who believe that it is a viable solution. Apparently, soy contains isoflavones—compounds that have a slight estrogen-like effect on the body that may help counter hot flashes.

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In the study, researchers compiled 17 previously published clinical trials on soy and hot flashes. From the results, they determined that women who took soy isoflavone supplements had a 21 percent less chance of getting hot flashes compared to those who were only given a placebo. While the findings were not always consistent, nearly all of them pointed at the supplements doing a better job than the placebo.

While hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the only treatment approved by the US Food and Drug Administration specifically for hot flashes at the moment, senior author Mark Messina of Loma Linda University in California says that he feels "completely comfortable with recommending (soy isoflavones) to women who want to try them." However, women with a history of breast cancer or endometrial cancer should probably get medical advice before trying the soy treatment since it does promote estrogen activity.

For best results, give the supplements at least four weeks to work before you look for other solutions. Of course, it’s important that you seek expert advice first before doing anything on your own.

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(Photo by Timothy Valentine via Flickr Creative Commons)

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