Phytoestrogens are an alternative food supplement that have good evidence for relieving hot flushes and night sweats by at least 50 percent, in post–menopausal women.
The majority of phytoestrogens belong to a large group of substituted phenolic compounds known as flavonoids. One of the most potent classes of the plant group is the isoflavones which have the highest potent oestrogenic activity. Isoflavones bind to the ER-b receptors expressing oestrogenic activities in the CNS, blood vessels, bone and skin without causing stimulation of breast or uterus.
Paradoxically they also have anti-oestrogen activity when steroidal oestrogen levels are high. This action may well alleviate PMS symptoms as well as reducing the progression of fibroids, endometriosis and endometrial hyperplasia.
(Ref. Husband A.J., isoflavone supplements. J. British Menopause Society; supplement SI 2001 4-7).
The use of phytoestrogens in the form of isoflavinoids can therefore be used by women as an alternative to HRT or BHRT when there is a contraindication for use of HRT.
There is also evidence that red clover isoflavones benefit bone health, cardiovascular health and breast health.
The proven safety of isoflavone products used world-wide from 15 published clinical trials of more than 1000 women is reassuring.
At Holistic Medical Clinic we use Red Clover isoflavone products in the peri-menopause and the menopause. When appropriate natural progesterone is given with the red clover product but as always it is important to give the correct strength and purity of isoflavone.