Isoflavones

Supplement Forms/Alternate Names

  • Red Clover Isoflavones
  • Soy Isoflavones
  • Soybean isoflavone

Introduction

Isoflavones are compounds found in many different plants. They are found most in soy products. Isoflavones mimic estrogen. They have been used to ease symptoms of menopause and lower blood pressure. Isoflavones have also been used to lower the risk of some types of cancer. They can be taken as a pill or powder.

Dosages

40 to 80 milligrams daily

What Research Shows

Likely Effective

May Be Effective

  • Type 2 diabetes—may modestly lower risk in men and women who eat low to moderate amounts of soy J1

Unlikely to Be Effective

Not Enough Data to Assess

  • Bone health B1
Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.
Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to take isoflavones in small doses for a short time. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take large doses of isoflavones.
Interactions
Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.

References

A Body Weight
A1 Zhang YB, Chen WH, et al. Soy isoflavone supplementation could reduce body weight and improve glucose metabolism in non-Asian postmenopausal women--a meta-analysis. Nutrition. 2013 Jan;29(1):8-14.
B Bone Health
B1 Castelo-Branco C, Cancelo Hidalgo MJ. Isoflavones: effects on bone health. Climacteric. 2011 Apr;14(2):204-211.
C Breast Cancer
C1 Fritz H, Seely D, et al. Soy, red clover, and isoflavones and breast cancer: a systematic review. PLoS One. 2013 Nov 28;8(11):e81968.
C2 Chen M, Rao Y, et al. Association between soy isoflavone intake and breast cancer risk for pre- and post-menopausal women: a meta-analysis of epidemiological studies. PLoS One. 2014 Feb 20;9(2):e89288.
D Colorectal Cancer
D1 Yu Y, Jing X, et al. Soy isoflavone consumption and colorectal cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sci Rep. 2016 May 12;6:25939.
E High Blood Pressure
E1 Taku K, Lin N, et al. Effects of soy isoflavone extract supplements on blood pressure in adult humans: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. J Hypertens. 2010 Oct;28(10):1971-1982.
E2 Liu XX, Li SH, et al. Effect of soy isoflavones on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2012;22(6):463-470.
F High Cholesterol
F1 Qin Y, Niu K, et al. Isoflavones for hypercholesterolaemia in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;(6):CD009518.
G Menopause
G1 Jacobs A, Wegewitz U, et al. Efficacy of isoflavones in relieving vasomotor menopausal symptoms - A systematic review. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2009 Sep;53(9):1084-1097.
G2 Taku K, Melby MK, et al. Extracted or synthesized soybean isoflavones reduce menopausal hot flash frequency and severity: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Menopause. 2012;19(7):776-790.
G3 Thomas AJ, Ismail R, et al. Effects of isoflavones and amino acid therapies for hot flashes and co-occurring symptoms during the menopausal transition and early postmenopause: a systematic review. Maturitas. 2014 Aug;78(4):263-276.
G4 Cheng PF, Chen JJ, et al. Do soy isoflavones improve cognitive function in postmenopausal women? A meta-analysis. Menopause. 2015;22(2):198-206.
G5 Ghazanfarpour M, Latifnejad Roudsari R, et al. Topical administration of isoflavones for treatment of vaginal symptoms in postmenopausal women: A systematic review of randomised controlled trials. J Obstet Gynaecol. 2015;35(8):783-787.
G6 Li L, Lv Y, et al. Quantitative efficacy of soy isoflavones on menopausal hot flashes. Br J Pharmacol. 2015;79(4):593-604.
G7 Ghazanfarpour M, Sadeghi R, et al. The application of soy isoflavones for subjective symptoms and objective signs of vaginal atrophy in menopause: A systematic review of randomised controlled trials. J Obstet Gynaecol. 2016;36(2):160-171.
H Obesity
H1 Akhlaghi M, Zare M, et al. Effect of Soy and Soy Isoflavones on Obesity-Related Anthropometric Measures: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Clinical Trials. Adv Nutr. 2017 Sep 15;8(5):705-717.
I Osteoporosis
I1 Ricci E, Cipriani S, et al. Soy isoflavones and bone mineral density in perimenopausal and postmenopausal Western women: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2010 Sep;19(9):1609-1617.
I2 Wei P, Liu M, et al. Systematic review of soy isoflavone supplements on osteoporosis in women. Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2012 Mar;5(3):243-248.
J Type 2 Diabetes
J1 Ding M, Pan A, et al. Consumption of soy foods and isoflavones and risk of type 2 diabetes: a pooled analysis of three US cohorts. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2016 Dec;70(12):1381-1387.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC
  • Review Date: 02/2020
  • Update Date: 05/27/2020