HealthDay News — Consuming soy products and fiber did not prevent the onset of hot flashes and night sweats associated with menopause, results from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation show.

There were no consistent monotonic relations observed between any dietary phytoestrogen or fiber intake and incident menopausal vasomotor symptoms (VMS), including hot flashes and night sweats, Ellen B. Gold, PhD, from the University of California Davis, and colleagues reported in Menopause.

Because phytoestrogens — a nutrient found in soy based foods including tofu and soy milk — drop during menopause, Gold and colleagues wanted to determine the effect of phytoestrogen dietary intake on menopause symptoms. So they followed 1,651 premenopausal and early perimenopausal women who participated in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, who did not have baseline VMS symptoms, for 10 years.

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Participants completed food frequency questionnaires at baseline, and annual visits five and nine to assess dietary intake of isoflavones, coumestrol, lignans and fiber. Annual self-reports assessed the number of days participants experienced VMS in the two weeks prior.

The researchers found no clinically significant effect of dietary phytoestrogen and fiber consumption on incident VMS; however, adjusted odds ratios for some individual quartiles were statistically significant.

“For certainty of any effect of dietary phytoestrogens or fiber on the prevention of incident VMS, a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-masked trial with sufficient numbers of women in different racial/ethnic, menopausal status, and metabolic groups over years of follow-up is required, but our results suggest that a clinically significant or large effect is improbable,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Gold E et al. Menopause. 2012; doi:10.1097/gme.0b013e31826d2f43.